Hey, all you bronco bustin’ Bach buckaroos, start your engines, let’s cruise

One of my favorite Bill Bates cartoons is so representative of this time of year on the Monterey Peninsula that it should be made into a poster and displayed in every commercial and government building. It depicts a motorcycle rider wearing a cowboy hat, and a tee-shirt with a picture of Bach emblazoned on it.

“Varoom, varoom,” the cowboy is yelling. The cartoon was a perfect way to illustrate the three major events that happen here at about the same time – the Carmel Bach Festival, the California Rodeo in Salinas, and the ENI Superbike Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

I got to thinking about what it would be like to go to all three events. Wondering must have set off this terrible nightmare where I was caught up in “Events Purgatory,” as all three of them came together in my sleep. As far as I can remember the nightmare went like this:

I was at the Mission San Carlos for some Spanish Baroque

when suddenly this saddle sore grizzled old cowpoke

came riding up the aisle on an MX2-GP Yamaha

screaming giddy-up little doggies, hi-ho Yoyo Ma.


Then he rode his bike over the pews

stomping and yelling, “howdy Bach-a-roos.

Then an ENI Superbiker yodeled the Jubilate

while revving up his Streetfighter white-saddled Ducati.


A rangy cowboy threw his rawhide lasso

around the middle of a rotund basso.

The basso ran (leaving the quartet short-handed).

The poor fellow thought he was about to be branded.


A patrician woman from Carmel (now really!)

hopped on a Motorbike and did a wheelie.

Line dancing broke out right on the altar

while a helmeted biker read from the Psalter.


Some impeccably dressed doyennes with flawless coiffeurs

put on some chaps and spun the rowels on their spurs.

One saddled the conductor, made a horse-like whinny

singing carry me Bach to old Virginny.


Meanwhile at the raceway I heard someone cough:

Gentlemen start your Rachmaninoff.

The brass section sprang forth with such verve

they almost wiped out on the corkscrew curve.


Another musician, playing a rare violin,

went from presto to lento on the Andretti Hairpin.

At the same time, at the rodeo in Salinas,

a barrel rider and her bronco sang Dido and Aeneas.


I think the choral director really took a flyer.

The horse would have been better singing in the choir.

A Soledad resident, from down in South County,

appeared as a Canadian Cop – a Baroque Bach Mountie?


A soprano was limping, she really came unglued,

when her vocal coach said she had to be re-shoed.

At the OK Chorale, the singing sheriff, wearing a star,

drew down on a Swami playing an Indian sitar.


Two operatic donkeys from Carmen started to bray

Books I and II of the Well-Tempered Clavier.

Their performance created a buzz which led to conjecture

that Dramaturge, David Gordon, would give a lecture


on how Bach had 20 kids, (Wow, I say without malice)

good old J. Sebastian Bach didn’t need Cialis.

As you can see things were really a mess,

With musicians wearing Stetsons; cowboys in formal dress.


Fortunately I awakened before I had a chance

To check out the events at the Concours d’Elegance.

Bill Bates had it right, as you can see,

There’s always plenty to do in Carmel-by-the-Sea.





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