Clowns are an important part of a rodeo.
They carry on a running line of jokes with the announcer and sometimes perform
tricks between events to entertain the crowd. Many clowns also have
the daunting responsibility of diverting the attention of angry bulls
while downed cowboys are helped to safety.
Calf roping is a timed event that involves a rider on horse and a calf released
from a chute. You can see in this photo the horse knows exactly
what will happen next and is excited to go.
The calf is released and the horse is right behind with the cowboy swinging his rope.
If all goes as planned the calf is quickly captured. The horse stops
and holds the rope tight as the cowboy dismounts and runs to the calf.
The calf gets tossed to the ground.
Three legs are tied together, the time is recorded and the calf is freed.
Steer wrestling is for big cowboys. A large calf is released from the chute
with riders on either side. One rider keeps the animal running in a straight line
and the other jumps from his horse to grab the steer by his horns.
In a matter of seconds the steer is to be stopped and pulled over by the wrestler.
Both man and calf get a good spin in the dirt as the cowboy tries to
roll the animal to his back.
A new event is the riding of the mini bulls.
Even when full grown the mini bulls are much smaller
and are to be ridden by the younger cowboys.
Just because they are smaller doesn’t mean they can’t throw their rider.
It just means the young cowboys have a shorter distance to fall.
As exciting as this all was; I am very glad I don’t have guys who think eating dirt and getting up close and personal with large, provoked, four-legged animals is a fun way to spend an evening.
In fact, by this time I’d had about all I could take. We went home before the events for ladies—the barrel racing and goat roping—and the bull riding. Rodeos can go on for several hours and it takes a special kind of dedication to sit that long on those bleachers. A strong bladder is useful as well since the restrooms are often pretty disgusting and sometimes just porta-potties.
Clown: Hey, do you know the secret to becoming a bull rider?
Announcer: No, suppose you tell us.
Clown: First you put a handful of marbles in your mouth and you keep them there.
Clown: Yeah. Every time you ride a bull, you spit out one of the marbles in the arena.
Announcer: Oh really…
Clown: Yeah, and when you’ve lost all your marbles, you’re a bull rider!