Running of the Bulls, Eureka-style!
On Friday, as I was leaving the tiny town of Eureka, Nevada I saw a sign for the Eureka High School Rodeo: May 25, 26 & 27. Never one to pass up a rodeo, I pulled into the fairgrounds and got permission to park my little Teardrop among the dozens of behemoth horse trailer/ rv combos.
That’s what I call road trip serendipity!
I love a good rodeo and small town rodeos are the best. At these kind of events, it’s easy to saunter right past the spectator stands and get into the action back behind the livestock chutes. For most of the day on Saturday, I hung out with the bull and bronc riders, the only woman in an adrenaline-charged crush of cowboys. Not once did anybody ask what I was doing back there, though I did give out a bunch of Blonde Coyote business cards to guys interested in photos (or interested in women who hang out behind bull chutes). All in all, it was a pretty awesome Memorial Day weekend!
Small Town Rodeo Spurs
Bull Riders Pray Hard
Loading Chute 3
Almost 8 Seconds
Close Call. Getting your hand caught is one of the worst things that can happen during a bull ride. This cowboy was fine and nobody else got hurt all day.
Nobody got hurt, thanks in large part to the bull fighters. Don’t call them rodeo clowns; these guys are incredible athletes and ballsier than the bull riders.
Here Bully Bully
Bull Chute Self Portrait
How close did I get? This close!
Saddling the Saddle Bronc
Saddle Bronc Ready
Saddle Bronc Loosed!
Rescuing the Rider
For more rodeo photos check out my previous posts: Rodeo Americana and Rodeo Americana, Part 2.
Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.
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LOVED this look at a tradition long held. Photos put me there. Wonderful shots! Thanks again
Those of us who understand the “Golden Mean” can see those things that interest you most about cowboys lol!
Great shots. I love rodeos, but just about die every time a bull rider gets his hand hung up like that kid. Yikes.
There are animal rights reasons not to support rodeos. Look it up.
Yes, I am well aware. My post Rodeo Americana, Part 2 is all about that controversy: https://theblondecoyote.com/2011/07/10/rodeo-americana-part-2/
animal rights??, what about cowboy rights?, or cowgirl rights?, loved your coverage of a great sport, no worse than horse racing. thanks MJ
Thanks, MJ. To each their own. I prefer to form my opinions based on what I see with my own eyes. After spending hours behind the chutes at several rodeos, as an animal lover and a horse person, I believe that rodeos foster and celebrate partnerships between man and beast, even if those partnerships last less than 8 seconds. Those bucking bulls “worked” for a matter of seconds and then got turned back out to pasture. Not a bad life, considering the alternative is filet mignon. I also had a nice conversation with the stock supplier for the rodeo (the man who owns all the bucking horses and bulls) and he was so proud of his animals. I have no doubt there are a few bad people in the rodeo business – and those people deserve no less than they dish out – but there is a balance of good and evil everywhere in this world. Here’s to all that’s good.
“Here Bully Bully” made me laugh.
As if wrestling alligators was not enough…..?
I enjoy going to rodeos and there are often several rodeos going on just about every weekend here all summer long. I don’t bother with those big time rodeos, as the main focus is huge amounts of money which cause the participants to perform more daring and dangerous feats just to entertain the audience and earn a paycheck. The smaller ranching community rodeos are much more focused on the authenticity and background of rodeos.
But there are several aspects of rodeos that I don’t completely agree with, like bull riding and bronc riding…..especially for young kids.
The team roping, cutting, reining, calf roping….those all make sense, and are all skills that every ranching cowboy must have.
Quoted from your Rodeo Americana post:
“Rodeos promote the bonds between horse and rider and encourage honing the skills necessary to safely and humanely raise and handle cattle.”
“I think it’s important to remember that most of the events in the arena stem directly from common ranch practices”
But I just don’t see how trying to stay on a bucking bull or saddle/bareback bronc for 8 seconds, is something that promotes the bonds between those irritated animals and the human focusing on hanging on, or is a very useful skill for the average cattle rancher.
IMO, it’s more of an entertaining sport for the spectator and a means to make money for the bronc or bull rider, as well as a way for the bucking bull breeder to make a buck as well. The biggest bulls that buck the wildest and highest, and send the cowboy to the dirt the fastest are the prized bulls. The ones who don’t end up on the dinner table.
Some could argue that cowboys need to know how to sit a bucking horse for when they break a green horse. But the modern cowboy doesn’t break a horse that way anymore. A good horsemen gentles a horse to the point that no bucking happens at all.
Anyway, I believe that good honest rodeos have their place here in the West, and I’m happy to attend a rodeo and show my support for the hard-working cattle ranching cowboy.
Tijeras, New Mexico
Great photos! Really enjoyed this post.
Nice butt shots. I needed that!
What FUN and interesting photographs…..thanks for sharing
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Brilliant photo’s Brilliant post ! and well said Mary for your support of the hard working people behind the Rodeo who treasure and look after their animals