The annual Lion’s Club Camel Cup sponsored by Imparja Television was held Saturday July11, 2009. Yours truly volunteered to work as a camel handler and got the chance to ride in two races. It was a long hot DUSTY day that I won't forget as long as I live.
The super secret place my dear husband works (aka - Joint Defense Facility at Pine Gap or JDFPG) is a sponsor of the event and provides many of the volunteers needed to run the event which draws over 5000 spectators. Last year, Dave choose not to bring the email home to me because he knew I’d want to help out as a camel handler and he didn’t think it would be safe. He swears that he has “injury warning alarm” that goes off in his head when he encounters a dangerous situation. He has very few scars and his only trip to an Emergency Room was to pick me up. The Shaw’s may have that gene but I’m pretty sure that the Waggoner clan missed out on that little piece of DNA.
This year I had spies funnel the information to me and I signed up to be a camel handler and have the official Cameleer shirt to prove it. It was a wild and crazy experience but also quite educational. Here are a few of the dromedary tidbits I learned.
- Camel feet are bigger than a dinner plate. They aren’t hooves; the soles of their feet are much more like dog paws with lots of calluses and have two toe nails on the front.
- Camels have about the same mental capacity of a smart dog with the temperament of a snotty cat. You can’t make a camel do anything it doesn’t want to do.
- The back legs of camels have limited kicking ability; however their front legs are lethal. They can kick directly to the front and then do a big round-house sweep and take out everyone and anything in a 2 to 3 yard area.
- Camels have opposable jaws. Since they can completely off set their jaws a bridal and bit are useless. To control the big buggers, their noses are pierced with a plastic peg. The pegs are permanent and a sting is used to attached a lead rope to the camel.
- Camel saddles were not built for comfort of the rider. Most saddles are built for two passengers. When racing, the jockey sits in the back seat (on the left side of the picture). You ride on the back side of the hump with a bit a cushion for your butt. Those metal bars will leave bruises in some rather personal areas.