"my first rodeo"

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 23 02:34:53 UTC 2011

Barry Popik has a webpage about the phrase "This ain't my first
rodeo", and he mentioned it on the AD list in 2006. The earliest cite
given is the 1990 country song that Jon also mentioned:


In 1988 a biography by Bob Millard titled "The Judds: A Biography"
about the country music duo consisting of Naomi and Wynonna Judd was
published. The mother Naomi is quoted using the expression:

Cite: 1988, The Judds: A Biography by Bob Millard, [Copyright 1988 Bob
Millard], Page number not shown in GB database, A Dolphin Book:
Doubleday: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing, New York. (Google Books


<Begin excerpt>
Naomi is not a shy woman; she has never claimed to be.
"I'm divorced and I've been to the circus and I've seen the clowns,"
as she put it "This ain't my first rodeo."
<End excerpt>

In 1989 the expression was used by a football coach at Southern
University named Gerald Kimble.

Cite: 1989 July 30, Mobile [Press] Register, SWAC coaches pick Jackson
State once again, [Associated Press], Page 5-C, Column 1, Mobile,
Alabama. (GenealogyBank)

<Begin excerpt>
Kimble noted that he may be in his first SWAC job but that at 47 he's
no beginner. He once served as an assistant coach at Southern and was
a successful high school coach.
"This is not my first rodeo," he said. "I've been on a horse before.
We'll be exciting. We'll throw the ball around a little bit. …"
<End excerpt>


On Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 8:45 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: "my first rodeo"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ...and a nice addition to the catalogue of negative polarity items, given the unlikelihood of the relevant reading of its appearance in positive contexts like "Sorry, this is my first rodeo".  (Actually there are a few positive first rodeos, but they're in the same ballpark as e.g. "Give a damn!")
> LH
> On Sep 22, 2011, at 5:02 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> Several two-dimensional images on cable news lately, including Gov. Perry,
>> have used the phrase "This isn't/ain't my first rodeo."
>> David Barnhart mentioned the expression here in 2006 after it was uttered by
>> G. W. Bush.
>> That was the year YBQ appeared. Next edition, it should go in.
>> JL
>> --
>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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