The folks at the Chamber of Commerce, Lone Star 102.5, Alpha Beta Psi Sorority and the Mason Rodeo Association have been working overtime. They've been tending to last minute details of parking, fees, registrations, concessions, biographies, sound systems,,, all of the details necessary to make the annual Round Up events come off with as few problems as possible.
For the next few days, there will be ropings, barrel races, talent shows, dances, rodeos, parades, craft fairs, burro races, and so much more. It takes scores of volunteers working together to handle the influx of visitors to Mason for four days. Many of those visitors have never been to Round Up before; but, they will return home on Monday morning raving about what a good time they had during their time here, all because of the good job those many volunteers have done.
My personal involvement with Round Up every year is more limited. I work with the groups to try and make sure that each of their events get the exposure they need. I take photos at various events so that next week's paper will have some photographic proof of the fun that everyone had during their visits. I get a photo of the latest Round Up Court so that everyone knows who the latest royalty for Mason County is. And, I struggle with the parking barricades for our office.
Every year, the parking area in front of the Mason County News is set aside and preserved as an area for seating during the burro race and parade. It is a perfect area for seating since it has morning shade till about 10:45 a.m., it is directly on one of the turns on the parade route, it is relatively flat, and it is recessed from the asphalt, providing lots of space for lawn chairs. I've learned that this space has been used for chair seating for many years, so it's something of a tradition that I feel compelled to continue.
But, preserving seating space on the Mason square for the morning of the Round Up Parade is not without its own hardships. On the Friday of Round Up, vehicles start mysteriously appearing all around the square. They take up all of the most desirable parking spots, directly in front of the retail stores, and they remain in those parking spots for the rest of the afternoon and the evening. The owners finally materialize the next day when they show up and start setting up their viewing area for the parade. By noon on Saturday, the vehicles finally start to slowly drift away, freeing up the parking spots once again.
In front of the News Office, it requires using sawhorses, chairs, ladders and CAUTION tape. We keep moving the barrier further and further out as Friday progresses until finally, at 5:00 p.m., we have the full seating area fully reserved for Saturday morning.
I've actually had people move the barricade on Friday night and park their car in the seating area. Thus far, most people have been very gracious when I pointed out other parking areas and invited them to come back and sit with the people in front of the office. And, I'm not the only business that does this. Geistweidt & Whitworth, Mason Bank, Hemphill's and First State Bank all have similar parking areas that are reserved for seating. And, all go through remarkably similar processes in order to make sure that visitors can have adequate seating on Saturday.
Have a great Round Up. Enjoy the events downtown, at the Rodeo Arena, the Slab and the park. Take a leisurely stroll across the courthouse lawn and visit the craft booths. Enjoy the musical events and the burro races. Enjoying visiting with your friends and the family members you only see during this one time of the year.
And, stop by the News Office to see the folks sitting in their chairs enjoying a ground level view of the Saturday morning activities.
It’s all just my opinion.