It’s a local tradition and I’m fortunate enough to have caught it every year for some time now.
Every year, I look for one strikingly good-looking cowgirl. I first shot her in 2010.
Now she’s in college, but still riding Ladies Breakaway.
The annual Wing Rodeo draws a good bunch of area cowboys, rodeo fans and some fairly rank stock.
Cowboy loses to the horse
Most of the time in the cowboy vs stock competition, the stock wins. This year, the stock was erratic. Some didn’t buck or try to dismount the cowboy. When the gate opened, the horse just stood still.
But when the stock fought fiercely, the cowboy lost. Take a look at this series that put the cowboy and bronc both on the ground. Look at this series of images to see how tough it is to stay seated…
Wing is not a very big town, only about 200 people, but come rodeo day, the town grows to a couple thousand. Neighbors and families relax. Patriotism abounds.
Cowboy salute to the flag
Cowboys and cowgirls socialize.
And I get a few good pics,
This year, just before the bulls, storms moved in and I moved out. But for the money, it was a great night of entertainment.
Hit the dust!
I love the Wing Rodeo — named after the little burg where the event has been held for decades. It’s as down-home Americana as you can get. Cowboys and cowgirls from around the region gather to compete not only against each other but against the critters they ride and rope.
Ride 'em cowboy
This year, the weather was better than some years when snow and rain made a mess of things. This year, warm sunny weather gave competitors a brilliant day. Even the broncs felt invigorated. Not one of the cowboys beat the broncs to stay in the saddle til the buzzer.
I and may camera spent a couple hours at the rodeo until the clouds moved in and I lost my natural light. The natural light of the golden hour was awesome, but those dang clouds turn even the nicest golds in to blues.
Keeping in mind the contest of the down home old fashioned event, in post processing I turned a few of the images into something more appropriate for the event.
Big hat for a little guy
Grassroots family fun. The ranch families from around the Northern Plains gather in their small towns for a little friendly competition — rodeo. And as much as it’s about horses and
Ride 'em cowgirl
roping, it’s about families and kids. Like this little guy. He’ll grow in to and eventually out of that straw hat he’s wearing. Or the little fella riding a hobby-horse around the bales, trying to beat the clock. He’s trying as hard to win as his older kin are trying to win the events in the big arena.
It’s not a men-only sport, or even women-only. Girls and boys both get in to the Wing Rodeo action. And no matter the age, they give it their best shot.
Cowboy snags the calf, now to tie it
Something tells me, however, that the older you get, the more pain in involved. I have a feeling that these young cowboys have to work their way up from a hobby-horse to riding a mad bronc, and pain tolerance is probably a big factor.
Riding a bronc
Outta the saddle
ready to bite the dust