At the Saddle Ranch Chop House at the Legends, it looked like the mechanical bull got the most action of the night. That's debatable, though, considering I also met a guy who boasted that he'd "never not made out with a chick" there. Well, whatever the case, the bull was certainly getting a workout during my Saturday-night visit.
"Do me a favor. Go all slow and sexy on me," said a woman in her 30s to the bull operator. Beyond the ring, the Western-themed breastaurant — a bar-restaurant that also attracts a number of cleavage-baring chicks — resembled a Westport club. The DJ pumped out crowd-pleasing hits such as "Redneck Woman" and "Funky Cold Medina." The clubby music inspired groups of women to jump on top of the bar to dance. Three separate bachelorette parties flitted around and took their turns on the bull.
I went out to the Legends with Research Assistant Jenni. I'd never really been there for its nightlife options. The area was kind of cool despite the Disneyfied architecture, and the proximity of a number of bars drew a pretty diverse crowd. The Saddle Ranch resembled a wooden Old West building from the outside. Life-sized horses resided on its patio and stuck out from its façade. Mannequins in cowboy garb perched on a faux balcony. Just across from El Ranchito was the T-Rex Café, which displayed an enormous dinosaur outside its doors. All I needed was my drink to be served in a plastic container shaped like a cowboy boot for the Worlds of Fun effect to be complete.
We strolled inside and were a little overwhelmed. The bar was getting crowded, the music was blaring and the disco lights were flashing. We headed straight for the bar and ordered huge fruity drinks that came in carafes. We started out with the $10.25 Mai Tai, which at first tasted like only orange and pineapple juices. Then the three kinds of rum kicked in. Later, Jenni ordered a blue drink that contained vodka, rum, gin, tequila and blue Curacao. Needless to say, it was a bit more potent than the candy-ass Mai Tai.
We toted our carafes around while we checked out the place. The large restaurant space was weirdly shaped. The mechanical bull ring took over one side. A round bar stood near the center of the room. A plethora of flat-screen monitors hung above the bar, and more TVs dotted the walls. A spiral staircase wound its way to a platform above the bar that served as a dance floor. On the other side of the room was a small gift shop that offered cowboy hats, mesh trucker caps, $3.99 plastic toy horses, and T-shirts that read "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy." You could buy pictures of yourself on the bull for $5.99.
Jenni and I stood by a pillar and people-watched. A guy in his 40s, who had anchorman hair and sported a purple K-State jersey over a white mock turtleneck, came over and used the pillar to write his number down on a cocktail napkin. He gave it to a woman he'd met at the bar. Once that transaction was complete, he came over again.
"Take a picture of his ass!" he bellowed, pointing out a guy who was dancing with another woman to "Brick House." The spiky-haired young guy and his cougarish partner bent forward slightly and rubbed their butts together to the beat of the song. Mock Turtleneck made a disgusted face at the butt-rubbin'. "Brick House" then segued into "Brass Monkey." Near us was a raised area marked off by an iron railing. Four guys in polo shirts shared that space with a thick, gold-colored pole with spokes radiating from its base. One of the bachelorette parties invaded that area. The bride-to-be, 31-year-old Amy, wore Mardi Gras beads with her white tank top. She worked the pole a little. Then she propped her foot up on the railing, stretched her leg out and danced one-leggedly on the rail. One of the guys, who rocked a big gold chain, took his camera, held it low under her and took a picture of her butt.
I started chatting with some of my fellow lushes. I met a group of shaggy-haired skater guys who were drinking directly out of a large cylinder of beer. Brendan and Jake, both 21, started their night at Dave and Buster's before coming over to ride the bull. Brendan claimed to have stayed on for 15 seconds.
Then I talked with one of the bachelorettes who had just dismounted the bull. Bok, a pretty 28-year-old, sported a white top and a sateen-and-tulle veil that was festooned with mini blinking penises. She said she had always wanted to ride a mechanical bull. Her friends didn't want to, but with her special day coming up, she dragged them out. She said the $3 ride was scary at first but then exhilarating. I asked if her wedding night was going to be as exciting, but she misheard me and said yes, she was excited for her wedding.
We wandered around by the gift shop. That's where I spotted a guy in a red T-shirt getting all handsy with a woman in a micro denim skirt. After a brief makeout session, the woman flirtily ran out one of the side doors onto the patio. He chased her, and we followed him. When we finally caught up with them, they were canoodling in another doorway. Then she gave him a seductive look and slipped back inside.
I stepped in to interrupt the luv chase. That's when I met Derman, the guy who claimed always to have gotten lucky, makeoutwise, at the Ranch. I asked the 24-year-old to explain his pickup technique. "Smile. Look like a thousand bucks. Look classy," he said. We wondered where his makeout partner had gone. "She's sweating her balls off. She's always dancing on the bar," he replied.
Just then, she reappeared and introduced herself as Sarah. She told us that she and Derman had a love affair going on for 10 months, despite the fact that she's been seeing someone for a year. The friendly blonde told us to catch "the Jane and Sarah show" — she and her friend were going to dance on the bar and act out the songs. Later, we caught her on the bar with Jane; before we left, we saw her again, face to face with another guy.
After that bit o' drama, we decided to leave. It was close to last call, so I settled my tab before the rush. As we walked out, we spotted a guy passed out on a bench. Two cops hovered nearby while his friends woke him up. I knew how he felt. Theme park or not, Saddle Ranch was definitely a dizzying ride.