Wednesday, August 20, 2014

# 21 - Our current two-year RV trip across North America. This week's; Pro-Rodeo in Mercedes (Rio Grande Valley), Southern Texas. - Pentax K-3


 Hi Photographer friends,

We spent some time in Southern Texas and last spring we had the chance to attend a Bull Riding Rodeo. It is entertaining for us, the crowd, but this is no sissy sport. It is entertaining for us, the crowd, but this is no “sissy” sport. The riders really get banged up.

Each bull has a unique name and number used to identify the bull. A sufficient number of bulls each judged to be of good strength, health, agility, and age, are selected to perform. The rider and bull are matched randomly before the competition, although starting in 2008, some ranked riders are allowed to choose their own bulls from a bull draft for selected rounds in PBR events.
A rider mounts a bull and grips a flat braided rope. After he secures a good grip on the rope, the rider nods to signal he is ready. The bucking chute (a small enclosure which opens from the side) is opened and the bull storms out into the arena. The rider must attempt to stay on the bull for at least eight seconds, while only touching the bull with his riding hand. His other hand must remain free for the duration of the ride. Originally, the rules required a 10 second ride, but that was changed to the current eight seconds.
The bull bucks, rears, kicks, spins, and twists in an effort to throw the rider off. This continues for a number of seconds until the rider bucks off or dismounts after completing his ride. A loud buzzer or whistle announces the completion of an eight second ride.

Throughout the ride, bullfighters, also popularly known as rodeo clowns, stay near the bull in order to aid the rider if necessary. When the ride ends, either intentionally or not, the bullfighters distract the bull to protect the rider from harm.
Many competitions have a format that involves multiple rounds, sometimes called "go-rounds." Generally, events span two to three nights. The rider is given a chance to ride one bull per night. The total points scored by the end of the event are recorded, and after the first or first two go rounds, the top 20 riders are given a chance to ride one more bull. This final round is called the "short go". After the end of the short go, the rider with the most total points wins the event. 

Understandably, most riders are in their twenties.
Pentax K-3 and smc Pentax DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 ED WR

The Rodeo Queen and her horse stood still during the National Anthem.

There is such a camaraderie in this sport, not comparable to other sports.

Riders help each other getting a good and solid grip, before the gate opens

Are you ready?

"This one is taking me for a spin"

The Rodeo Clowns have to be as good a shape as the riders.

It's not uncommon for the Rodeo Clowns to take the hit.

"Get off my back"

On your mark, get set...

The images above were all taken with the Pentax K-3, using one lens only. The images were reduced in size for faster uploading to this blog. I also tweaked the saturation and clarity, not that the images weren't good coming directly from the camera, but because images on a computer screen need a little more punch.

Thanks for reading,
Yvon Bourque

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