Having never seen a rodeo in person, I was eager to go up to the Poconos to the weekly rodeo at the Malibu Ranch in Milford PA. It wasn't a show of cowboys and cowgirls as much as it was about the horses. The relationship between horse and rider were near telepathic, during the warmup session some riders practiced their roping moves with the horses suddenly digging in their back legs just because the rider leaned back - no reins in hand. The skills of the riders in general were impressive, and seeing the horses heeled over almost to a 30 degree angle in barrel racing, and digging in to slow or stop a roped calf, gave me a new appreciation for horses' abilities. For me bull riding ended up being more about the bull fighters (aka rodeo clowns) and their ability to safely manage angry, raging bulls away from downed riders, less about the riders. It was a good evening for the bulls, only one rider made it for the full 8 seconds, and many left the ring looking grateful for it all being over with.
For the rodeo participants who wanted to get shots of some moment or another, email me from the "contacts" page and I'll send you a link to the full set of shots. Please let me know which category of event - opening ceremonies, barrel racing, roping, bull riding - so that I can send you a link to your interest.