What's not to like? For a photographer, it's non-stop action. For the sports fan, both the cowboys and the animals are considered athletes. Both are trained.
For spectacle, you kidding? There are parades and clowns and colorful folks down in the arena and up in the stands. Everybody's there to have fun. Well, maybe the horses and bulls get a little ticked off, but they usually win. The Cheyenne newspaper runs a daily box score over the nearly two week "Frontier Days" rodeo and it's usually something like Bulls, 19..Cowboys 10.
There are a lot of big rodeos in the US..Houston and Denver come to mind..along with the season finals in Las Vegas, but for all around western fun, Cheyenne, "The Daddy of 'em All," is my favorite. For two weeks in July, it's the place to be. Parades in the morning, rodeo in the afternoon, music in the evening and food..wow.
|Apple of his eye.|
It's great for families. Folks dress up and go to town for rodeo. And they follow the sport from place to place. Individual riders become stars on the circuit and have their fans. So do the animals. Not living in the region, we always tried to get to Cheyenne during the last couple of days before the finals..that way, we got to see the best of the best and enjoy the growing excitement.
And there's the shopping to do. Any big rodeo has a festival area where you can get a new big hat, a belt buckle, boots or a saddle..and it's the real thing. The locals buy it, why not try it?
You can even get some free advice (right). Good advice, too.
"Rodeoing" got started 'way back. Cowboys would entertain each other by showing off their horse skills. People gathered around the corral to watch and pretty soon somebody decided to put on a show. I have no idea who first decided to ride a bull--it was probably on a dare. For me, the bull is going way too far. But, as a photographer with a camera that can shoot fast action..well, it's hard to beat. Take a look:
|That's a thousand-plus pounds of bull..airborne. The rider has lost his seat and is headed for the dirt. The guys on the side are the clowns who'll distract Sir Bull when he comes down so he doesn't stomp the cowboy he just threw off.|
This one has a different idea. He just sits down..
..and the rider slides off. Easier'n buckin'.
That one happened at the Tucson rodeo, which is usually held in February or March. The weather's not so hot that time of year in Tucson.
This was also at Tucson. Look at the rider's face. Think it's easy?
The bigger kids get sumpin' heftier. Ride 'em Cabboy!
If you're looking for some fun and you've never seen one, try a rodeo. Bet you'll be hooked.
Just don't forget your camera.