Epic Fall: The story you have all been waiting for
The last thing I heard somebody said to me, before I took a 20-second ride of my life, was to hurry up.
Like most journalists participating in the media races, I was busy fiddling with a GoPro strapped across my chest and ensuring it would capture my winning moment: crossing the finish line with camel No. 1.
Without struggle, I climbed on top of the gate and onto the camel’s hump. I was ready to go until I heard, “No, no! Scoot down more.”
At this point, voices around me were just going through one ear out the other. I just nodded my head and smiled, and imagined riding the wind with this baby.
Everything seemed simple up until I was told to hang onto the handle at the front of the camel. I realized I couldn’t reach it and was already uncomfortable with the position.
“And they’re off!”
Before I tell you about the best part — the fact I was the first person of the event this year to hysterically fall off a camel — let me just express how much I enjoy this annual event. Although I’ve only been attending it for the last three years, my excitement for it compares to my bliss for Halloween (my favorite holiday) or that feeling you get when you reunite with a close friend from another state you haven’t seen in a really long time, even if it’s just for the weekend.
Luckily, both of those events for me are approaching, and I feel even more spoiled to be participating in the camel races. What I love about this event is you can’t really find it anywhere else, and Northern Nevada has so much energy and thrill for it.
I lived in Nebraska last year, and I didn’t get to come home in time for the camel races. I was down in the dumps for a few days, especially after hearing about it from my friends at home.
I would tell about the event to my mid-western friends and agree it sounds like one of the most amazing races in the world.
However, they didn’t have an event like this, or maybe I wasn’t aware of it.
You have to be at the right place at the right time to go to the camel races, and that’s definitely Virginia City, Nevada. It’s about being around that same energy, pride and appreciation for the historical treasures and atmosphere.
Not to mention the weather on Friday was as beautiful as it has ever been at this event, in my opinion. It was sunny at 80 degrees with a mild breeze.
The “mph” of the wind was perfect enough to get my hair flowing high enough to make it a glorious moment at the finish line. I even bought a new flannel shirt for this.
As I uncomfortably reached for the handle on the camel, I took a peek of whom I was racing against: some chick from Channel 4 and a guy named Rich.
There’s a reason why they assigned me to No. 1.
Trumpets sound. “And they’re off!”
They opened the gates and No. 1 made a dash down the arena.
At first, I felt like an epic Viking but I wrecked my ship once No. 1 turned the corner.
Some of the top advice I got on how to ride a camel: don’t use your legs — use your core muscles to stay balanced.
I think I thought about it too much because I started to slide off.
BOOM! I fell off about six feet or more off of the camel and landed on my hip. Rocks flew into my mouth like pinballs bouncing up against my teeth.
At first, I wasn’t humiliated until I realized my boyfriend was sitting in the stands somewhere — and saw the whole thing!
I quickly got up and dusted myself off. My right shoe slipped off of my ankle. There was a part of me that was tempted to run after the camel and yell, “Wait for me!”
Joe Hedrick, the host, ran towards me.
“Are you okay?” he asks, trying to keep calm.
“I’m great,” I replied — and I really was.
Little did I know I was going to make a fool out of myself at this race but I couldn’t help but laugh. I cheered on the other folks as they crossed the finish line.
The emotions felt so wrong with the current situation; I could have seriously injured myself and I fell off of a camel in front of hundreds, including my boyfriend. Instead, it was hilarious.
Falling off a camel was one of those humiliating things you’re glad that happened. It’s how you make good memories, find motivation to do it again, and share amusing stories to others.
When I exited the gates with dusty blue jeans and Vans, my boyfriend was waiting for me by the stands.
We laughed and hugged, and I said, “I hope I wasn’t too much of an embarrassment!”
“No,” he said. “That was great.”
Hand in hand, we walk up the hill and everything still felt so surreal. Whether he was there or not, and even if it was in front of media and other folks, Friday’s “incident” will be something I will always cherish.
Will I do it again next year? Maybe.