Proceed At Your Own Risk
The very essence of any rodeo is danger.
If some cowboy wasn't inches or seconds away from getting seriously damaged, why would anyone bother to watch?
Man vs Beast, in all it's primal glory.
(Not to slight the girls--I've seen several get knocked off their mounts at the charreada and it was only luck that let them get back up instead of going to the hospital).
The main point is that it's a dangerous sport for all concerned.
And there is a rich cultural heritage that deserves to be maintained.
If we ban rodeos, what's next? Not being able to smoke in bars?
In this series of photos we start AFTER a horse was so uncooperative that it took almost ten minutes to get to a point where the ride could start.
(I would have said "Screw him" by then and gotten the show moving along, but this is the Charreada).
Someone opened the gate an inch to "help" and the horse used his big muscled butt to knock it wide open, much like Tim Duncan in the low post.
Keeping with the Spurs references, Mayhem (Ginobili) ensued:
Remember the color of the rider's shirt.
How much of the charro can you find?
I was glad to see him still in one piece, trying to stay alive:
What happened next was around 15 minutes of unsuccessful attempts to get this crazy-ass horse down the chute out of the ring:
Seeing the poor thing bleeding like this was sad and pretty much bummed everyone out at the time, but as I recall the events while looking at ALL of my photos, that horse was an asshole who nobody should have tried to ride and he nearly killed a man.
It was a fair fight, and despite a little blood the horse won.
Just so we don't end on a sour note...
This is my favorite shot of the day:
I had already taken a bunch of pictures of this miniature horse "backstage" but when the little boy rode him out during the opening ceremony I felt there was something extra special that needed capturing.
All of my other takes are cool and tell part of the story, but this one is the best by far because of his smile.