They call the thing a rodeo…

If you don’t like pictures of rodeos, cowboys eating dirt, horses throwing off cowboys, or cattle running around, just look away now. IMG_7326This past week was the annual Texas Cowboy Reunion rodeo. Hosted in my home town, it is the event of the year so of course I couldn’t miss it.

IMG_7953 Of course there was lots of dirt flying, cowboys flying and horses bucking.

IMG_8051 The fun pictures were the ones of cowboys getting thrown off. Most, thankfully made soft landings, and were just entertaining.

IMG_8053 However, as with any athletic sport, a few competitors got injured. The man in red in this picture was the second rider in the double mugging contest one night and in the process of wrestling the yearling, dislocated his shoulder. After re-mounting his horse, he popped his shoulder back into place in front of the crowd and less than 10 minutes later came out as the lead rider and roped and tied another yearling. You can’t keep a good cowboy down.

IMG_7770 IMG_7768 The double mugging contest especially ended up with cowboys in some very precarious positions.

IMG_7674 IMG_7665 We Texans also like other events. Especially the ones where we strap small children onto the backs of steers. The top picture is the son of a family friend who won his night’s round of “kids’ steer riding.” He is now hoping to become a bull rider one day.

IMG_7782 Another favorite event is the wild mare race, where we let teams of three cowboys attempt to saddle and ride a wild mare from one end of the arena to the other. Rarely does anyone actually accomplish this task in the time limit, but it’s always full of drama and suspense. Fun fact: the favorite method of keeping a horse calm while saddling it is biting its ear. Even if that means holding on tight, dangling two feet in the air.

IMG_7995 IMG_7707 IMG_7346 While lots of cowboys took lots of tumbles, an often-forgotten part of rodeos are the rodeo clowns that distract bulls while the cowboy gets out of harm’s way.

IMG_7858 IMG_7862This year’s clowns, who are very experienced, ended up on the dangerous end of a bull and one got to go for a ride on the bull’s horns. He also got a nice view of the underside of the bull. The rodeo clowns, as well as many cowboys, wear vests and sometimes helmets that protect them just in case this happens. The clown, even though he was actually stepped on by the bull, got up and was ready to go again, thanks to his protective gear.

IMG_7393IMG_7659 IMG_7634IMG_7388 IMG_7917 My absolute favorite picture of the rodeo is this one of the bronc jumping straight up in the air. This horse had some serious bucking power, and I believe this cowboy was much higher in the air than he would have preferred.

IMG_7612 I love our hometown rodeo, because its a great celebration of the traditions that our country was built on. For four days, our little town gets a snapshot view of the old west. Most importantly, we remember the sacrifices made by those who came before us. We still bow our heads and pray, sing the national anthem and post the colors proudly each night before the show gets started, because traditions, sacrifice and the good Lord is what the country was built on and what we proudly celebrate every year.

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