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Sure, I’d been to LAS VENTAS and seen the Bullfight, one in which the Matador was gored and The Bull escaped in one great leap into the stands…But I’d never seen an American Rodeo in which the Cowboys actually try to ride the wild and ferocious bulls, or at least try to stay on their backs as many seconds as possible!
So it was with great anticipation that I bought tickets online for the world-famous St. Paul, Oregon Rodeo and Wild West Art Show and Carnival, less than 30 miles to the South in what is known to us City Slickers as “God’s Country”!
Yes, there really are Cowboys and Cowgirls left in the world, and they really do know how to train and ride and care for horses, and wrestle horned cattle to the ground, and ride bucking broncos and writhing bulls, and all without a drop of blood spilled, except for their own scrapes and bruises.
The girls started out parading around the dusty arena showing off their riding skills, cantering, galloping, and having their horses make tight turns and twirls commanded by colorful reins. The sponsors’ flags whizzed by, led by the Stars and Stripes, which got top billing with a powerful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that brought the huge crowd to its feet. It was the last evening performance of the Rodeo week, and the sun setting in the West crept into my section, making photography a little difficult and warming up the stands.
Luckily, I had a zoom lens and was able to capture a few scenes against the light. Instant replays of the performances were shown on a large screen for those who missed the action! The Rodeo host introduced the participants and gave their backgrounds and points achieved. Some purses came to over $50,000 dollars.
Ten Gallon Hats and Cowboy Boots and leather goods were doing a brisk business, as were the Western Theme paintings and artisanry in the Wild West Art Show tent. The Carnival Rides and food booths made the many families there happier than cows grazing in a green grass field! Home-made ice-cream and maple-and-bacon Elephant Ears were tempting treats; slushies, and snow-cones and sausages and pizza slices, not to mention St. Paul’s Parish chicken meals, meant dinner was served, with beers or sodas or a refreshing bottle of spring water.
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