Mall of America Rodeo

This past summer I worked as an intern for BEEF Magazine, which is where BEEF Daily got its start. Now, living in the cities was quite the adjustment for me--the insane traffic and road construction had my GPS in a constant frenzy. But, after a month of living in the cities, I finally got comfortable in the area and brave enough to venture into the Mall of America. My avoidance of the shopping mall was two-fold: first, I’m a poor college kid, which means I didn’t exactly have wads of cash waiting to be spent. Secondly, I’m always lost, and I had convinced myself that if I entered the parking ramp, I might never find my way out again.

So let’s just say, visiting the Mall of America for the first time last summer was a really big deal for me. There were so many shops; I didn’t even know where to begin. Stores for shoes, clothes, purses, jewelry, magnets, cookware, hair gels and shampoos, sports gear, scrapbooking and even doggie treats lined the floors of the vast shopping arena.

Then I saw it: RCC Western Ware. I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I was missing my cattle and the ranch life since I had arrived in Minneapolis, I thought to myself, "Finally, I’m getting a tiny taste of farm life right in the cities! Well, sort of anyway!"

I was in the market to purchase a pair of new boots. I had picked out the most beautiful pair: black bottoms with turquoise tops. The salesman, Marshall, came over to help me find my size. Marshall looked like the strong type, with rolled up sleeves, a tattoo on his bicep, cowboy hat, Wrangler jeans, belt buckle and boots. As I tried on my boots, Marshall carried on a light conversation with me.

“So what parts you come from?”

“Oh, I’m originally from South Dakota,” I replied. “I grew up on a cattle ranch.”

“You don’t say!” exclaimed the salesman. “Well, I’m from Texas, and I used to be a cowboy. Yes, indeed.”

“Wow! Really!” I replied. “Well, were you in livestock or grain production?”

“Well…,” stumbled Marshall. “My neighbor had a few horses that I rode once in awhile.”

Marshall looked to the ground, kicking his boot from side to side. I’m sure he was wondering if I would buy his cowboy act. Then he launched his next question.

“Whatcha doing here in the Twin Cities, Cowgirl?”

“I’m an intern at BEEF Magazine,” I explained.

And in the traditional, I-can’t-believe-you-just-asked-that-type question, Marshall threw out this doozy.

“What is BEEF Magazine about?”


Talk about disconnect! Yesterday, I had a reader write in to say that we are always preaching to each other while the animal rights activists have the freedom and money to go out and change ag policies. So what is the next step? Who do we talk to first? And what do we say?