Wednesday, May 26, 2010

cloverdale rodeo - photo essay

Cloverdale, a community just a few minutes' drive from where I live, hosts an annual three-day rodeo on the Victoria Day weekend. What with the nice weather and all, we decided to take in the finals Monday afternoon.

We arrived early enough to browse the Country Fair look at the newest gadgets, try on western hats of all kinds and ogle this (no, it's not a wedding cake!) mock-up of the new B.C. Place.

Then we grabbed a bite (veggie pitas from the Donair hut, coffee from another shack) and sat in the sun listening to the Murray Band and this group of ethnic singers/instrumentalists from Surrey. Of course we also had a glimpse of some of the cowboys in training.

As usual, I treated the grandstand event like a non-stop photo-op. We bought tickets late, so got seats in the very front row, on planks that were about 6 inches off the ground. It sure wasn't the most comfortable seating, but I got a nice unobstructed view of what was happening (except for the pipe fencing). I must admit I went shutter-crazy -- always in the hunt for that compelling action shot!

The show started at 2:00 p.m. with the usual horse drill parade. I love the beautiful choreography of the horses and flags.

Click on any collage to enlarge a little.

The first event was Bareback. There was lots of twisting, tossing, turning, grimacing and holding on tight.

Interspersed between main events were time fillers, like the clowns, taking off on the Olympic theme with their own sand ski event towed by a horse.

Later there was "Mutton Bustin'" Little kids barely out of Pampers it seemed ("contestants age 3 and up"), rode woolly sheep. In the photo, the 'outriders' (on foot of course) were chasing one of the sheep to which a little gaffer was still hanging on (she isn't visible -- has slipped and is riding sideways).

The saddle bronco event was next. It was won by Canadian Justin Berg from Marwayne Alberta. They win serious money, by the way -- $20,000 for first place.

Ladies Barrel Racing is my favourite. I just love these cowgirls and their swift horses. If I was a little girl, I know what I'd want to be when I grow up, especially after spending an afternoon at the rodeo

The event was won by Sammi Bessert of Colorado. When asked what she was going to do with her winnings (another cool $20,000), she said she had promised her two little boys at home that if she and "Tommy" won something, there just might be a trip to Disneyland. (Isn't that such a mom-way to spend rodeo winnings?)

Just before the final event we were treated to Niki Cammaert, a trick rider born in Rockyford, Alberta, but who now lives in the States where she works on TV and in the movies as a rider, stuntwoman and in special effects.

First she did a little romancing the horse thing while the MC talked about how wonderful is this friendship between horse and girl (pretty, but cheesy).

No sooner was that act done than she was back in her stuntwoman costume, and on another horse, wowing us with all kinds of gymnastics while on the back of her galloping mount. She was amazing!

The final event of the afternoon was bull riding (bottom right). The object of the ride is first of all to stay on for a prescribed amount of time (I think it's 8 seconds).
Of all eight finalists, only one managed to accomplish that. And so Steven Turner of Cochrane Alberta won all the prize money ($50,000!). The incredible thing is he did this injured. He had a dislocated hip, was in pain, but did the ride anyway.

When the MC asked him whether, now that he'd won all this cash, wouldn't he just take the rest of the summer off to get his hip fixed and heal, he said, no. This was rodeo season. He'd take a week off, but was planning to be at the next circuit event in a week or so.

Can't get enough rodeo yourself? Check out the Cloverdale Rodeo website where you can watch events replayed in streaming video.


Mary said...

Violet I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the Cloverdale Rodeo. We drove through that area when we were in BC and I remember Kelsey telling us about it. great Pictures too:)


Lilly Jones said...

Dear Violet, I was engrossed - this was so fascinating. A delightful read. Rodeo is a whole different world, so far from the mundane - smile. Happy Sunday!


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