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.
Fog has set in to the region and won’t let go. I don’t know how many days of this stuff we’ve had, but it’s sure tough finding something of interest to shoot when it’s all faded out like this.
In Wing, the old machine shop stands broken down and gray against the gray sky. I like the architecture of the building, but it’s past repair, it seems. I suspect it hit the beginning of its decline when the Burlington Northern Railroad abandoned the rail line that served the Wing Elevator.
Deer cluster together where there's food
Winter is hard not only on people and things, but also animals. God has given northern plains animals special qualities for surviving the winter, and one of those is good. They eat a lot, and they bunch up where a lot of food is to be found. This farm north of Wing, not far from Mercer is an example. The whole herd is much larger than my lens could capture. Still, in the evening sun, I waited until they moved closer to the farm to give you a perspective of life on the northern plains for deer.
Abandoned red school house
The day’s photo journey started out with just a drive. The landscape can be monotonous. It’s very blue (yes, I know people think of snow as being white, but the visual environment is blue.) So, in all that blue (and yes, white) a red school house stands out starkly against the colors of winter.
This photo of the highway, the wind blowing snow across the pavement, the hills in the background pictures North Dakota’s winter. Brrr. The sun sets early, about 5:00 p.m. which just adds to the closed-in feeling of winter. That’s why on a good traveling day like this, with a little bit of sun, it is good to get out and see the world.
On this trip, the turn-around spot was Harvey, North Dakota where patriotism and America’s military strength is honored with a place in the city park. Here, under the last bit of sunlight, and a great amount of street light, this tank, and the flag stand as a reminder that the security of North Dakota’s winter and the 12-month lifestyle of freedom is kept only because we are willing to fight for it.