Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Rodeo in Cody, Wyoming

While my husband and I were on vacation in August we drove from Rapid City, South Dakota, to Cody, Wyoming, where our next stop would be Yellowstone National Park. When we arrived at Cody we saw banners across main street proclaiming that every night in summer there was a rodeo at Stampede Park! Since we are city slickers we knew we couldn't pass the opportunity to see what a rodeo was all about, so as soon as we checked into our motel we headed over to the park.

Now that's a big bull! I'm not sure why I didn't want to sit on his back and have my photo taken, but I decided against that extra dose of excitement for the night

Inside the park the cowboys were preparing the broncos that they would be riding. The Cody Nite Rodeo is the longest running rodeo in the United States, having operated for over 60 years. The announcer told the audience that many of the nation's greatest cowboys started their rodeo careers in Cody.

The festivities began with the singing of the National Anthem, and other patriotic songs and a prayer, all performed in a fast moving ceremony.

The standardized events that characterize rodeo are bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, calf roping and bull riding. Many rodeos also include barrel racing, a sport that is dominated by female equestrians. Quite a few young riders were in the calf roping and barrel racing competitions, as many of the local children live and help on ranches and are quite skilled in the saddle.

It was explained that calf roping is a necessary rancher skill, so that a run away or stray calf could be subdued and brought back to the herd.

The cowboy who caught and roped the calf the fastest won points, and ultimately all the points earned over many rodeos would go towards possibly winning a prize.

"Saddle Bronc Riding is the classic event of rodeo. Both the horse and the cowboy are judged by two judges each who are in the arena. The horse is judged by how hard it bucks but the cowboy is judged on form, how much he spurs, and if he has control of the horse. " source



"Bull riding is the most dangerous and the most exciting of the rodeo events. These bulls are very fast, powerful, and can weigh as much as a ton. Consequently, bull riding is saved until the last and no one leaves until the final bull has been ridden. Not only does the bull rider have to stay on the twisting bull for eight seconds, but he also has to escape on foot once he gets off."
source

It was very exciting to watch the bull riding! Notice the "clown" ready to distract the bull away from the rider if he falls off.

I was happy to see some of the cowboys wearing helmets for safety.

It was actually very hard for a cowboy to ride a broncing bull more than a minute -- most were thrown off.

This is one of my favorite photos from the rodeo, as I think it looks like the bull is daring the cowboys to come and get him!
Luckily, none of the riders or animals were hurt during the rodeo, and the competition came to a happy ending. Now that I saw a rodeo I have great respect for the skills of the cowboys and the strength of the animals. It certainly retains the flavor of the "Wild West"!

I am linking this post to Susan at A Southern Daydreamer's Outdoor Wednesday blog event. Please visit her blog today to see links to other participating blogs. Thanks Susan!


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36 comments:

Jane said...

Rodeos are so exciting! Looks like your experience was a good one. Isn't it interesting to look at the faces of the cowboys? There is so much life in them.

My first rodeo was in Mesquite, Texas...shortly after our transfer to Dallas. I can still see my little boys join in chasing the calf for the ribbon on its tail. (They're grown, now!)

Jane (artfully graced)

Carolyn Ford said...

Amazing shots! So colorful!

Ebie said...

Beautiful photos! My favorite is the photo of the cowboys preparing, at your vantage point, they look so tall, look like they are on stilts!

Nice vacation shots!

Light and Voices said...

I went to my very first rodeo a couple of years ago in Spooner, Wisconsin. It was exciting. Congratulations on achieving the spirit of all that dangerous action in your images. Great job!
Joyce M

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I love this post...because it brings back many memories. A few years back we did Yellowstone...and then spent a night in Cody, Wyoming, where we took in the rodeo. It was a hot summer evening...and a windstorm blew through like we had never seen. The rodeo ended before it was over...and we ate sand for days. But the rodeo experience was terrific!

Joops said...

I have only seen them in movies, never been to a real rodeo yet..

We drove around to see the nature's beauty last week, please come and see!

Riet said...

Wow, your pictures are beautiful. Must have been very exciting to see al this.

Diann said...

Great rodeo photos! That is a beautiful drive from Cody to yellowstone! We took that way back home from our trip to Yellowston a couple of years ago. We ended up spending another week in cody just taking in everything!

Have a great day!

I have a giveaway going on at my blog. If you get a chance stop by!

eileeninmd said...

What great fun and wonderful photos.

GMG said...

Hi Pat! Wow Cody!! 1982 memories... ;)) Amazing shots!! Great reportage!!

Blogtrotter is firmly back to an amazing building... ;)). Enjoy and have a great week!

mbkatc230 said...

Great photos. I'm glad you had a good time. Barrel racing is a big deal in this area, and I'm always so impressed with the riders and the horses skill. And I love that last shot, it does look like the bull is taunting the cowboys. Have a great week. Kathy

SmilingSally said...

What an interesting side trip during your vacation. I've seen several rodeos, but lately, I feel badly for the animals. I hope you have a great day, Pat.

Jenny said...

Well get along little Doggie, you tenderfoot! Ummm.... I think that's sorta/kinda rodeo speak. Fun trip. I'm tired now. And I need a shower. The cows smell icky.

Hey, I just cracked myself up speaking of tenderfoots! ha! I know you'll get the reference Pat! Sorry you have one!

Happy@Home said...

A very interesting look at a rodeo. I have two aunts who live in Cody, but I have never been there to see them. I would love to visit them and Yellowstone sometime soon. Maybe I will also have to take in a rodeo.

Lucy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sea Witch said...

Ahh, the smell of roasted peanuts and horse sh*t. Yup, that's a rodeo. Lots of dust everywhere but handsome cowboys and pretty, glittery cowgirls abound. Sea Witch

Hootin' Anni said...

I love rodeos...we used to go to a lot of them when we lived in Colorado...that bull's hide is gorgeous.

My Outdoor Wednesday is the continuation from last week's venture...today, what we bought.

The Peddler Show

Happy Wednesday wishes to you.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Now that is one experience I have never had. It looks very exciting and a little scary.
♥, Susan

Mary said...

I haven't been to a rodeo since I was a child, so I really loved your post. Your photos are perfect and really captured the excitement of the event. Have a great Outdoor Wednesday.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Pat, Glad you got to see a rodeo.. Aren't you thrilled???? ha ha ... I lived in Texas for 12 yrs. so as you can imagine, I saw my share of them.

The Houston Rodeo is HUGE --and goes on for weeks. The thing I loved the most was the entertainment at that rodeo. They bring in the BIG country stars for nightly performances. I saw the Judd's one year there. Very nice!!!

Hugs,
Betsy

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I love rodeos so much, but the thing that ALWAYS scares me is the steer riding! Oh, that is a scary thing. Now, that I'm older, I cringe when they get thrown. I like the calf roping and bronco busting.

XO,

Sheila :-)

Stine in Ontario said...

It was fun to see the rodeo through your "city-slicker" lens. :)

Just a little something from Judy said...

I was at a rodeo during a stay at a guest ranch in Colorado. It was so much fun. This brought back memories for me, and I could almost feel the atmosphere while looking at your outstanding pictures. There is something about bull riding that is so exciting and yet, to me it seems like a dangerous sport. I am so thankful you shared this post with us. Made me want to catch the next plane heading west.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

That is a huge bull! I don't know how those cowboys get on those things!

ARLENE said...

What fun, Pat. Thanks for yet another great post.

Claudia said...

We did Cody a few years back (okay, a lot of years back!) when enroute to Yellowstone. Loved Cody. We somehow missed the rodeo - so thanks for bringing it to me.

steviewren said...

You took some great action shots at the rodeo. You guys had a western vacation in every way.

Tracy said...

These live action shots are fantastic, Pat--really takes us there! :o) Very lately I saw a program on TV about the modern cowboy and rodeos... I had no idea rodeos still existed like that and that the wild west truly is alive and well--it was very educational. Having been an east coast gal much of my life, the west holds a certain mystery, mystique and amazement. Hope you are having a good week, Pat. I'm slow to getting around, but feeling better today! Happy Day, my friend :o) ((HUGS))

Joyce said...

Those cowboys and girls must be in great physical shape to do all these things. I have never been to a rodeo so thanks for sharing the photos and all the information. I like the Pink post and the water and the resort look so inviting. I could use a vacation but no time to spare to actually take one these days.
Joyce

diane said...

Great photos of such a fast moving event. A good night for a city slicker.

Janean said...

you got the "full meal deal" with that rodeo! don't blame you for not sitting on the back of that brahma bull. he must have been drugged! lol!

Melanie said...

What an exciting day out. I'm following "America's Toughest Jobs" on TV at the moment. One of the jobs they contestants had to do was rodeo clown. So dangerous!
I think they are the true heros of the rodeo.

Leslie said...

Well, that looks like a blast! Living in Nebraska when I was younger, I attended many rodeos and horse shows -- even participated in a couple. I have a cousin whose kids "rodeo" quite often. During a recent rodeo, her daughter (who couldn't be older than 12 or 13) won THREE saddles.

Sara said...

Wow, that's certainly a different place than NYC!

Oliag said...

Great shots Pat! Looks like lots of fun...

Paula said...

What a great post! We lived in Cody for a lot of years, still have family there, including our daughter and precious grandson. The Cody Nite Rodeo is such a long-standing tradition. The locals look forward to opening night every year, and just as eagerly await closing night. LOL! My brother was a bull rider in his younger days, so I thought that I'd mention that not only do some of the cowboys wear helmets, but those black vests that they have on are also steel-plated to protect them against hard hoofs when the cowboy ends up on the ground and under those stomping hoofs.
I really enjoyed this post and so glad that you guys enjoyed the rodeo!