I grew up riding English, but nothing beguiles me more than cowboy culture. I love the hats, the buckles, the chaps, the spurs, the boots, the ropes, the true grit, the strong handshakes, and of course, the horses, the bulls, and the broncs. In fact, of all the things I love to photograph, rodeos might be my all time favorite. I’ve been to rodeos all over the US, and this past weekend I had the great pleasure of attending my first Canadian rodeo!
I rolled into Quesnel, British Columbia Friday afternoon, just in time to catch the first wave of bulls and broncs under the Friday Night Lights. That first night, I met so many great people, all of whom were a little mystified as to why I’d come all the way from New Mexico to attend their small town rodeo, but everybody was friendly and welcoming.
So welcoming, that I ended up camping all weekend at the fairgrounds, in a sea of horse trailers and RV’s. On Saturday night I was invited to a spectacular barn dance with live music by a fun band named Mosquito Creek (so Canada!). I’m pretty sure I took a few millimeters off the bottoms of my dancing boots — Canuck cowboys really know how to dance! Overall, it was a wonderful rodeo weekend and I have the photos to prove it:
I wasn’t sure how the Friday night photos would turn out under such low light, but I love the blur! Some of these look like abstract paintings. Very cool.
All rodeo participants are athletes, but nobody showed more verve this weekend than the bull fighters. Don’t call them rodeo clowns! A bull fighter’s job to put themselves between the cowboy and the bull. There’s nothing funny about that!