Bull Riding Teens

I never did the rodeo thing as a kid; just never lived in an area where that was really a big deal. And I have to admit, I’m thankful.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against people who do enjoy the sport. We are all wired differently. But I think the reason I am glad I was never really exposed to this sport is because I might have been inclined to try this bull riding stuff. After all, I did jump out of an airplane when I was 19. ( And I did havea parachute strapped to my back )

I just returned from McAllester, OK where I spent this past weekend shooting the TJRA 2-day rodeo event. It was a very long weekend sitting in that arena discovering once more how my body sweat serves as a great dust magnet. I know I must have shot nearly 2000 pictures of kids from age 4 to 19 in various events like pole racing and barrel racing. I saw young girls flying down the arena jumping off horses at full speed and then ‘hog tying’ goats. I saw teenage boys test their strength by wrestling 500+ pound steers to the ground in an attempt to pin them on their backs. Kids of all ages and gender slung lassos at anything that could be roped.

But it was the bull riding that intrigues me most.

It really is a fascinating event to watch and especially trying to take pictures during the process. I started out down in the arena with my camera wanting the best angle but after being chased down by two bulls, it was quite obvious that I was getting to be too old and fat to be be dodging raging bulls. I nearly pulled my shoulder out of joint hoisting myself up the fence to escape one enraged beast.

Nonetheless, I was pleased with the shots I got. Maybe some parents will order them and hang them up on a wall and ask themselves from time to time: “What were we thinking?”

I’m glad to report that no one that I saw was carried out on a stretcher…or a body bag.

And ‘Thanks’ Mom & Dad…for allowing me to try a lot of things as a kid while somehow keeping bull riding off the option list.