Attendance at Rolex seems to go up every year. This is good for the sport, but bad for the crowd-hating spectators. Bob has said it is his last year to go. Too many people, and too many who are inconsiderate. I have compiled my own list of Rolex rules of conduct. I have delicate sensibilities as you will see...
- WATCH the event. You drive from God-knows-where, you pay for your ticket, and you walk over a mile to get here, why would you ignore the competition and do disruptive stuff like horse around and yak with friends at volume 10? If you decide your buddies are more deserving of your time, show some respect and move away from the competition.
- When you're near the XC action, pay attention -- riders and horses are putting their lives on the line right in front of you, and attention is a form of respect -- but also, do it for your own safety. This go round there was a loose horse CAREENING around the course, briefly, and he could have easily gone through the string and into the crowd.
- Show jumping -- Theater seating rules apply! There is nothing more annoying than being in a row where spectators are continually getting up and down during the stadium jumping. Extra demerits for doing this while a horse is on course. Sure, run to the bathroom (once) but don't jump in and out of your seat to go socialize with someone you know in the stands -- maybe you've been to a lot of these events, maybe you're local, but some of us have taken planes, trains, and autos to be here, at great expense. Be considerate.
- Umbrellas are allowed. And so are hats. But in the same way that behavior can be legal but not ethical, view-obstructing apparel is allowed but not considerate. If you are at Head of the Lake, belly against the string with a good view, consider everyone standing behind you -- put the effing umbrella DOWN.
- Taking photos? Be mindful of the hoards of OTHER people taking photos. Not cool to dart in front of someone at the last moment. You'll get YOUR perfect shot while ruining theirs.
- Dogs. I won't even go there. I don't think they should be allowed, it is simply too dangerous for the riders and horses. Sorry.
- Dogs. While at Rolex this year, I saw dogs shivering, overstimulated, thirsty, muzzled, exhausted, being dragged along by owners. Other dogs were fine. If you are thinking of taking your pet, be realistic about how they will react to the excitement, and how long they will be comfortable. This was the FIRST year there were no announcements about dogs locked in cars during the heat. I guess they were still locked in cars, but it was freakin' cold, so no one complained. If you're an animal person walk the talk!