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Let’s Get Crackin’

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whipI now own a bullwhip! Thank you, SuziQ!

For the community event being planned for this coming September, one of the songs I’ll be singing is Ghost Riders in the Sky, ranked as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time. I’ve been coming along pretty well on practicing the song itself, so it’s come time to work on gear and such. Like, maybe finally getting myself another pair of boots. And can I really do this without a cowboy hat?

Odyssey - Ghost RidersWhat I’ve been itching for, though, has been a bullwhip. Terry offered to loan me one, so did Len, and probably half the men in this Texas community could loan me one and have several spares still ready for action. Why I finally got Suzi to say yes to a bullwhip when I still haven’t yet gotten the nod on that alpaca I keep asking for, I don’t know. But surprise!—yesterday’s mail delivery presented me with an 8′ leather bullwhip.

Now, to learn to actually do something with this that won’t turn my song into a comedy routine. I don’t expect to do any fancy tricks, nor will I ever expect to find that smooth style of an Indiana Jones. I’ll be happy if I can crack it sharply pretty much 99.9% of the times I try and if I can work that into the timing of my song . . . and if I can manage to do so without putting myself in the hospital with a lost ear or some other serious injury.

So after watching a few YouTube videos several times, during my first serious practice session (about 30 minutes, spread over about half a dozen mini-sessions) I managed to score several dozen cracks, three of those rather nice sharp snapping cracks. Several times I was able to do as many as four cracks in a row. And when I don’t get lazy on it, I can crack it more than half the times I’m going for it. All these with the Cattleman’s Crack, nothing special . . . although if I can get good enough with that, then I might loosen up and try to add some overhead cracking by September.

All in all, a long trail ahead for this tenderfoot, but already I’m a lot farther along tonight than I thought I would be this soon after getting a whip in my hands. And so far, that’s without cutting myself!

bumper sticker [] - adrien

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Written by macheide

19 June 2015 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Adrien

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  1. Pretty good progress for my first six days learning to crack my whip!

    The first day – last Thursday, June 18 – didn’t go so well. I watched a YouTube video that showed circling the whip over my head kinda like a lasso, which seemed like what I might like to do, but at which I failed miserably that first day, only consoling myself that I had several months in which to work on it.

    But the second day I watched several videos on the Cattleman’s Crack. My first time working at that, I actually managed to get some whippish sounds. Not quite cracks, but enough to know what to shoot for.

    And the video by the Australian gave me an important lead – variation of the Cattleman’s Crack to a 45-degree angle, then to overhead like that lasso I’d started with, then to other variations. By this past Monday, June 22, I’d started moving up to the 45-degree with good success, actually doing better than at the basic Cattleman’s.

    By last night – Wednesday, June 24 – I have been getting regular loud cracks at the overhead position. Some of those cracks have been so nicely loud that they have echoed off the houses across the golf course from my back yard. And I’ve begun regularly working on timing, singing Ghost Riders while swinging the whip in a circle over my head, then cracking it in time on the pauses between phrases of the song. Many things to work on there – one main thing will be to work up my breath control, so I’m not wheezing by the time I get halfway through the song from all the exertion.

    Last Thursday evening after I received my whip, I promised myself not to hope for too much. I would have been happy to just hold the whip during my song, then get a few basic cracks during the middle interlude in the song, nothing much special beyond that. Now here I am less than a week later, already past that point and dreaming of making it a rather memorable moment come September.


    25 June 2015 at 6:20 am


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