Sunday, August 1, 2010

Yuppies at the Rodeo

I may have arrived as a city slicker from "back east," but after our first day in Colorado getting used to the ranch life, I was ready to connect to my inner cowgirl.  We'd been looking forward to going to the rodeo ever since we booked our flights. 
On the drive to the rodeo after forgetting the camera the first time

Luckily for us, Steamboat Springs boasts an arena on the Pro Rodeo circuit!
As an experienced rodeo goer now, I have the insider tips for maximum enjoyment.  Arrive early to see the bulls when they look all cute and sleepy in the pens behind the grand stand.  You'll know you're in the right place when you can smell the rodeo, if you know what I mean.  If your olfactory sense isn't what it used to be, look for the cowboy specific advertisers.
After you've walked around a little, then head into the arena to enjoy live folk music.  We heard the Yampa Valley Boys strum their banjo and guitar.
And I stuffed myself with rodeo food, which is fairly similar to carnival food.  Mr. Palindrome recommends the beef brisket plate.  The prices were on the high end, but so worth the experience for the first timer.
Pretty soon the announcers were calling the first event of bareback riding.
Right out of the gate we had a runaway hat
Team roping started off next where one cowboy roped the calf's head and the teammate roped the hind legs.  It looked particularly hard and few teams were able to rope the calves correctly without time penalties. I loved that the calves looked like they were wearing wrestler head gear.
I love the horse is leaning at almost a 90 degree angle here.
The next event was Tie-Down Roping, which I didn't realize was different from team roping until after I took about 30 pictures and heard the announcer calling it a different event.
A few more calves went down before yippee-yi-yo-ki-yay, it was time for steer wrestling.  Or wrasslin' as the announcer called it.
Not only does the cowboy have to contend with sharp, kicking hooves, but look at the pure muscle all along this steer's neck!  He fought hard, but the cowboy fought harder, eventually tying him.
If you're drinking from the tap of the Colorado Rockies, you might think you were seeing double because the bronocs were back in full force for another round.  This time though, the cowboys were riding them with saddles.
Now, I'm no Pioneer Woman, but I was pretty happy with this next series that I took.  For my first time at a rodeo, first time taking action shots with my DSLR, faux lighting, and a manual focus telephoto lens, they turned out allllllright.

That bronco just kept it up.  He went out with all 110%. 

Look Ma! No hooves!

The most frightening, yet entertaining events of the night were the calf and lamb scrambles.  Basically, they tied a ribbon to the tail of either the calf or lamb and then let children run all over the stadium, chasing the said animal.  Between getting kicked in the head or stampeeded by other children, it was all out mayhem.  I particularly enjoyed the tots who could barely walk chasing the lamb (my wedding bee namesake!)

Since some of the broncos didn't bronc the first go around, the cowboys were given another chance.

If you love people watching, you'll thoroughly enjoy the rodeo.  From outdoorsy hippies to old time cowboys and from city slicker tourists to down home Coloradans, the stands are full of people ripe for the watching.  One particular caught my attention, the dreadlock wearing concessioneer.  He also caught the attention of the announcer when he could out announce the PA system.  Popcorn! Coca-Cola! Ice Cold Beer!

With falling light, the final and most anticipated event began, Bull Riding! The bulls never bronced beyond a few feet of the gate so all of my photos are plagued by an intruding fence.  We could see them prepping the bulls and some cowboys almost lost knee caps when their bulls decided to start the show early. 

The rodeo kicked date nights to Cheesecake Factory and the South Point Mall to the curb!  

Have you been to a pro rodeo event? What was your favorite event?


  1. Okay. This is the big city girl in me talking: I SOOOO want to go to a rodeo!! I totally watch it on ESPN! I'm not kidding. I guess because it's so far away from my experience? Once per year the bull riding comes to Madison Square Garden, and I think I am going to go next year. Thanks for inspiring me.

    P.S. Thanks for including me on your blog roll :) I appreciate it. :)

  2. Love the rodeo! love love love! Mutton bustin' is my favorite kid event but it sounds like you didn't see any. Basically little kids ride on the backs of sheep... See how long they can stay on... Not usually long... Kids have protective gear on of course.

  3. Whooaa, as a total suburban/city/East Coast gal, I would be so fascinated by this! :)