Colorado Photography of the American West

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23 August 2009

Sunday Morning Gallery - Rodeo in Motion

It was a sweltering day in Larimer County Colorado. The pungent smell of livestock and cotton candy filled the air. I was wearing my straw Stetson and could soon feel the sweat trickling down my neck. So after checking out the carnival for sticky sweet shots of ferris wheels and amusing stilt people I was more than ready to go to the rodeo. You see, it was inside an air conditioned arena with icy cold beer and box seats above the dust. So sit back, prop your feet up, tip a cold one and enjoy going to the rodeo with me.

motion blurred cowboy at rodeo
The churning hooves of the speeding rodeo pony sent dust flying while the rider floated on his back as if he had become one with his mount.

rodeo cowboys prepare a bronc
The young man stepped down into the chute mentally preparing himself for this moment. Will he or the horse triumph?

motion blurred cowboy riding bronc at rodeo
The cowboy's world had stopped motion during his heavy concentration to stay on the bucking twisting mount. Finally the beautiful white horse triumphed and his rider was cast off.

cowboy catches riderless horse at rodeo
The large white horse ran free around the arena in his celebration but soon the riders caught up to him.

bulls at rodeo
Are they really going to ride those?

motion blurred cowboy at rodeo
The one armed man rode hard and fast, cracking his whip in the air, his pony a streak past the cheering spectators.

Modern rodeos in the United States are closely regulated and have responded to accusations of animal cruelty by instituting a number of rules to guide how rodeo animals are to be managed. A survey of 28 sanctioned rodeos was conducted by on-site independent veterinarians. Reviewing 33,991 animal runs, the injury rate was documented at .00047 percent, or less than five-hundredths of one percent. Health regulations mandate vaccinations and blood testing of horses crossing state lines, so rodeo horses receive routine care. PRCA regulations require veterinarians to be available at all rodeos to treat both bucking stock and other animals as needed.

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  1. Julie - these are simply amazing! Such vitality and energy.

  2. Wow, what stunning images you captured! Thanks for taking me to the rodeo:) Where are we going next weekend?

  3. Julie, I love these photos! I feel like I was there. We do have rodeos inland in Florida (believe it or not! It makes me want to go!)

  4. these are great! fabulous motion and energy!

  5. I love these especially 'riderless' and 'prepare'. The rodeo must be an amazing spectacle. I'd love to go sometime.
    I like the way you've written about the regulations down the bottom.

  6. Love these, Julie! I feel like I actually went to the rodeo myself! And thanks for filling us in on the care the horses receive. That's always been something I wondered about myself.

  7. Fabulous action shots! I can imagine being there! The last rodeo I went to was the Greeley Stampede several years ago and I was the only one who stood up and cheered when the calf got away in the roping event!

  8. cool pics Julie! Looks like you had a blast taking them!

  9. When I was much younger I watched Stony Burke! That was the closest I have been to a rodeo! Julie, you captured the color, action and fun of a rodeo!

    Thank You!

  10. Bulls is my fave of the bunch but kudos on finding a new/fun subject to shoot!

  11. Julie, these are awesome, I especially love the last one!

  12. these are great! what kind of camera do you use??


Contemporary photography of the cities, landscapes, flora and fauna of the American West.
Julie Magers Soulen Photography