Thursday, August 9, 2018

Nyssa Nite Rodeo Part III: The Art of the Rodeo

Thursday August 9 2018

Nyssa Nite Rodeo Part I: All the Pretty (Rodeo) Horses is here. 

Nyssa Nite Rodeo Part II: All the Pretty Cowgirls and Cowboys is here.

For the crowds in the stands, the events are all glitter and spectacle, dash and splash and crash.

It's the in-between-events and the behind-the-scenes context where I found the art. From the press box, and down in the hole where all the stock is prepped and the power is constrained and the electric nerves hum, I found some cool shots.

Exloding right out of the gate on a bronc, into the sunset of a wide-open arena

The myriad lariats the pickup men use. Depending on the event - bareback broncs, saddle broncs, or the most rankest of them all, ranch broncs - and often depending on the particular bronc - the lariats are carefully coiled and hung, and then before each horse (or bull) leaves the chute, each pickup man deftly and calculatingly chooses the right lariat like an artist chooses the right brush.

Delicately trying to get a halter on one of those rank ranch broncs without getting knocked out

The classic bucking pose

Making sure his saddle is firmly planted… or bowing his head in prayer

One of the heroes of the rodeo - one of the pickup men

These pickup men were, seriously, The Art of the Rodeo. Working wordlessly but cannily and seamlessly together, they rescued cowboys, delicately danced and rowdily roughhoused, foxtrotting and swirling, spinning and cajoling and dragging and shoving, flirting with disaster, to persuade these crazy broncs out of the arena. Watching them, I couldn't help being hypnotized by their skill and, just, art.

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