Lessons from the bikini contest

They don’t tell you that solitude can be a weapon, a way of making a body feel it must just be me when there were signs all along that

The contest was never what it seemed to be

Resembling a stock show more than a beauty contest

Told to line up

The hand-picked female handler writes numbers in permanent marker

on our haunches

And maybe don’t question too much what the girl in the high heels, glitter, push-up top

Is doing giving free twerking lessons

To doe-eyed coeds

And a heifer like me

Careful to keep my cloven hooves

And rising ire

Under wraps

Kicked off the ranch part 2

It is a basic tenet of writing lists–of you have a part one you have to have a part 2.

So this is it:  how I went from dragging my kids to the Texas Ski Ranch every day –to-how I was told to leave no matter what.

First, the bikini contest-reminiscent of nothing more than a stock show.  A stock show to sell price inflated Corona?! Treating beautiful young women like commodities?

Then there were the poorly attended juvenile detention peeps.

And last there were falling ropes.  It seemed to be clear that either through operator negligence or rope defect the ropes were separating from the wooden handles–off the dock, in mid-air, on structures riders were falling because their ropes had failed them.

Safety has to be a paramount concern in extreme sports.  When it is not taken seriously, people get hurt.

So that is how I was kicked off the ranch.  But just as interesting as that is the waiver that TSR and Springloaded require participants to sign.

Worth careful perusal.

Kicked off the ranch–part one

I find the sentences which include when I did the bikini contest or the bikini contest I was in require explanation.

Explanation because I do not believe in body image competitions.

Explanation because I am a round, soft, almost-50 year old mama.

So the fact that I participated in the Texas Ski Ranch Cablestock Bikini Contest of 2016 is as worth noting as are the varied consequences of doing so.

So first–why?

I had been going to TSR for several years and was acquainted with their bikini contest because they ran promos for it on an infinite loop. An avert your eyes kind of loop.

Efforts at dialogue seemed to be unproductive.  Prayer, Bible study, and a remarkably specific fleece led to my reluctant decision to sign up for the bikini contest.

Much to my own consternation.

More

I told you

This was a two-part answer

Ironically framed

By the disembodied voice 

Selling cars in the next room

It’s like calling

A cathedral 

A room with four walls

And a ceiling

Huh…

I think as I finish

Stuffing variegated laundry

Into the high efficiency machine

That is true

You my darling 

Are no mere room

With four walls and a ceiling 

You are a cathedral 

And should be treated as such

Tear down this temple

And I will raise it again in three 

Days

He said

Evoking all

The foundations in the womb

Baby pictures and toothy grins

Girls whose smiles light up the room

Do not be content to be

Measured the way a man will

Span an ordinary room

Know instead 

It takes a lifetime and a fortune

To raise the extraordinary 

Cathedral

Flying buttresses

Stained glass windows

Columns and impossible

Arches

All to the altar

Rising incense

Gaze of the Infinite

God

Bikini Contest Letter #2

I love wakeboarding.  I do it everyday–I wakeboard too much.

Most days I am proud to be a wakeboarder.  Last Saturday I was not.  Last Saturday I saw a side of wakeboard culture that did not showcase the full potential of the beautiful young women in the contest.

Women who wakeboard.  

These beautiful young women were given no forum for their skills in a tough action sport, but they were encouraged to define themselves according to the barest number of centimeters used to cover their rear ends.

Or not.

All the women who made it past the first round were wearing a style of bikini which deliberately exposes the buttocks.

And after that I could not watch.

I would like to direct the rest of this letter to any action sport sponsors who marginalized women athletes:

Because I am deep in the sport, this hurts me.  I know you.  I own products you sell.  I don’t want to associate your brand with the exploitation of women.

Wakeboarding is still a young sport.  We still have time to change this. 

Women can add so much to this sport–on the water, throwing spins, hitting rails, in the kind of clothes it actually takes to be brave.

I beg you to consider putting your sponsorship clout into women in wakeboarding, not women in sexually compromising positions.

update:

This post had a first stronger iteration which I modified after the owners of the wake park told me that I would have to apologize to one of them in order to allow my family to enter Points Chase National Competition.

I apologized.  They competed. 

More bad stuff happened….and I no longer can say that I wakeboard almost every day with enthusiasm.

I am no longer able to separate the degradation and shame of what happened at the bikini contest with the lovely process of riding a sliver of wood and fiberglass at 19 miles an hour.

It takes hundreds, maybe thousands of people to look the other way (or in this case stare voraciously) as human beings are exposed and humiliated.

I am not proud of any of it

I am not proud of “us”

The wakeboarders who let it happen.