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« Peacewalk for a Nuclear Free World | Main | The Wild West - part 2 »

The Wild West - part 3

This Sunday was the fourth day into our trip, and we felt the need for a little culture. Breakfast at the Custer County Art & Heritage Center was the best (and maybe only) option in town. 

There we were treated to an exhibit of LA Huffman’s photography...

and paintings by Theodore Waddell.

Outside, the Yellowstone River was threatening to crest, and this flood warning was announced on the news: “The river will continue to rise & exceed flood stage Sun morn at Forsyth and will rise above flood stage by late morn at Miles City.”

But that didn't stop us—and it didn't stop the Cowboy Mardi Gras either. Once again we trudged through the mud for another afternoon at the Bucking Horse Sale.

Not every princess can get away with wearing a shower cap under her tiara.

Is this young stud the next Blake Shelton?

Or the next JJ Elshere?

And hopefully this young cowboy sticks with gum...

and doesn’t pick up this nasty habit.

Say "hi" to Scott, Betty, Annette, Suzanne, Sarah and Juliette. The Western Muck Dusters.

Well, alligators live in swamps, right?

“He’s one of our youngest cowboys, but don’t let his age fool you. Do I hear $1200 for this talented young buck?”

Calm down, girls, it’s not what you think. These cowboys are being auctioned off for the bronc riding competition.

“My baby and my Bud!”

As a photographer sometimes you have to put yourself in the line of fire to get the shot.

The shotgun chaps are pretty dang cool!

Especially from this angle. Now I was getting up close and personal with the riders...

and with the horses.

This is the Calcutta event where some the top bronc riders in the world come to compete.

Keeping your chaps clean is an added incentive for staying on that bucking horse.

Many think that the "flank strap" causes the horse pain, but it actually tickles the horse's abdomen which makes him kick out higher and straighter. Once the ride is over, the strap is taken off the horse...

and removed from the ring.

OK, I'm really not obsessed, I just couldn't resist.

Yep, that's yet another Bud can.

Getting the saddle on the horse is likely just as difficult as staying on the saddle for eight long seconds.

Can't wait for those pick-up guys, right?

The Old Yellow Slicker

No matter how sloppy or muddy or lowery;
No matter how cold or unpleasant the storm,
No matter how blusterin', gusty or showery.
That old yellow slicker I wore kept me warm...(read the whole poem here)

It looks really awkward, but laying back on your horse is the correct way to come out of the chute.

The flank-strap is being taken away, while the horse is being picked up.

Though a good cowboy should be tough, he should also have "soft hands," much like a good pianist.

This thrown rider was a pretty good sport. After hurling mud at the hecklers...

he strutted back across the field with a big smile on his face,

and the announcer politely ponted out that he had missed a spot on his right shoulder.

Is this a Crest White Strip ad if you've ever seen one?

I returned to the stands to meet my friends...

and we watched the final event where the horses were auctioned off.

And then after all the bucking and mucking in Miles City, we headed back to Runamuck Ranch.

And on that wet drive back, we watched the dark clouds and the rising river and pondered the risk of staying in that area with road closures and unsafe riding conditions. But far more serious was the threat to crops and homes from the bulging rivers and the imminent snow melts as the Yellowstone swells and pours into the Missouri River.

Reader Comments (3)

I used to love rodeos when I was a lad, Salinas and Gilroy had big ones and since my granny lived in Silver City New Mexico, we went to rodeos around there too. They were a hoot. For the humans at least.

July 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdennis

Thank you Debi for sharing your photographic acumen with us. Riding all those horses this evening will make my evening slumber deeper and more satisfying. Good cheer.

July 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlloyd

Holy beautiful cowboys and horses and wild weather.....I've loved reading each of these posts and as always, loving your photography...Thank you for sharing:)

July 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

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