A hoedown with Saudis, Botswanans, Kiwis and more


The Belgians have landed. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Brianna Veesart)

Air Mobility Command is hosting their biennial Rodeo competition at Joint Base Lewis-McChord this week. (In case you didn’t know, check out this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this. And there’s even more here.) The event brings in folks from across the world, allows them to wear cowboy hats and compete for bragging rights.

Your humble correspondent covered the past two Rodeos at his last gig, and I can attest they’re a mighty good time. Units will put up tents in a central area, grill out and sip a few chilly ones during downtime. There’s usually music thumping throughout the day. But one of the best parts (in my opinion) is rubbing elbows with the international participants. Seven countries sent teams to compete and another 20 are in Washington state as observers, according to an Air Force release. Two years ago, participants could relax on cushions and eat ultra-sweet dates alongside pilots in $600 sunglasses in the Saudi tent, buy a good German beer from the Luftwaffe officers there and grab a burger from the grill outside the Aussie tent.

The Air Force loves its rhetoric about building partnership capacity. And the Rodeo is any example, you can have a damn good time in the process.


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