2012 Fortuna Rodeo

For a while now I have been counseling photographers to consider shooting scholastic and minor league sports because the expanded access that often accompanies these events creates opportunities to make pictures that are next to impossible to make at higher profile events. I found myself taking my own advice after the California Rodeo Salinas inexplicably denied me a credential, the only rodeo in the last two years to do so, even after I shot it last year. They must not like publicity. Way to go.

My friend John Curless spent a lot of time trying to persuade me to shoot the Fortuna Rodeo, and I kept humoring him thinking that I couldn’t really shoot a CCPRA rodeo when there was a PRCA rodeo the same weekend. So after I heard that Salinas was not in the offing, I set up the trip to Fortuna.

Walking around the rodeo grounds after the five hour drive from Oakland, I ran into John and his dad Roy:

Roy Curless - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Former Fortuna rodeo committee president Roy Curless shows off his cowboy hat.

Lou Bugenig, father of multiple NFR-qualifier Billy Bugenig, does the stock for the Fortuna rodeo:

Lou Bugenig - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Lou Bugenig of West Coast Rodeo Co. gets set up before the first performance.

I learned more talking to announcer Ted Dwyer for 10 minutes before the rodeo than I would have thought possible.

Ted Dwyer - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Announcer Ted Dwyer of Merced, CA prepares for Sunday’s performance.

Cowboys all prepare for the rodeo in their own ways. Some get their gear in shape:

Forrest Mallory - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Saddle bronc rider Forrest Mallory of Paso Robles, CA stretches his saddle.

Tyler Stueve - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bull Rider Tyler Stueve of Marysville, CA works on his rope.

Others trade stories:

Dustin Moody - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Saddle bronc rider Dustin Moody of Lovick, CA prepares to ride.

Ad Bugenig - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Saddle bronc rider Ad Bugenig of Ferndale, CA prepares to ride.

Some pray:

Cody Higgins - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bareback rider Cody Higgins of Red Bluff, CA says a prayer before his ride.

Others have a smoke:

Derek McCormack - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bull rider Derek McCormack of Covelo, CA

Speaking of access, normally it’s difficult to get very close to the roping chutes. At Fortuna, I was able to shoot from just beside the rail:

Dan Williams - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Tie-down roper Dan Williams of Gerber, CA

I was well within range of maybe getting hit in the head with a rope, so I put on my widest lens and tried some panning shots:

Mike George - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Tie-down roper Mike George of Oakdale, CA

Billy Holland - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Tie-down roper Billy Holland of Oroville, CA

Jesse Beardsley - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Tie-down roper Jesse Beardsley of Chico, CA

There were some wild bronc rides:

John Giacone - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Saddle bronc rider John Giacone of Kerman, CA

Andrew Steiger - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Saddle bronc rider Andrew Steiger of Cholame, Australia

Cody Kiser - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bareback rider Cody Kiser of Carson City, NV

Blaine Davies - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bareback rider Blaine Davies of Flournoy, CA

Grant Denny - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bareback rider Grant Denny of Minden, NV

Dustin Moody - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Saddle bronc rider Dustin Moody of Lovick, CA

Forrest Mallory - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Saddle bronc rider Forrest Mallory of Paso Robles, CA

Thanks to some sneaky steer, there were a few spectacular wrecks in the bulldogging:

Danny Brown - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Steer wrestler Danny Brown of Red Bluff, CA

Kaden Zanone - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Steer wrestler Kaden Zanone of Ferndale, CA

Local cowboy Kelly O’Day won the all-around title thanks to his performance in steer wrestling and roping:

Kelly O'Day - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Steer wrestler Kelly O’Day of Fortuna, CA

Shane Radelfinger - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Steer wrestler Shane Radelfinger of Ferndale, CA

Austin Tyler - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Steer wrestler Austin Tyler of Lincoln, CA

A few on the bull rides started out looking good:

Keith Roquemore - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bull rider Keith Roquemore of Cottonwood, CA

Kris Matthews - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bull rider Kris Matthews of Redwood Valley, CA

Kcee Boneck - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bull rider Kcee Boneck of Lake City, CA

But after four sets of bull rides, no one covered. The West Coast Rodeo Co. bulls reigned:

Evan Gannon - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bull rider Evan Gannon of Redding, CA

Riley Fish - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bull rider Riley Fish

Junior Emerson - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bull rider Junior Emerson of Middletown, CA

Junior Emerson - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bull rider Junior Emerson of Middletown, CA

Ben Kopshever - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bull rider Ben Kopshever of Penngrove, CA

Mariano Ochoa - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bull rider Mariano Ochoa of Half Moon Bay, CA

Collin Sturdevant - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bull rider Collin Sturdevant of Crescent City, CA

Keith Roquemore - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bull rider Keith Roquemore of Cottonwood, CA

JR Harrison - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Bull rider JR Harrison of Hidden Valley Lake, CA

The arenas wasn’t especially conducive to shooting barrel racing, but I got a few more conventional pictures that I was happy with:

Mikayla Moore - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Barrel racer Mikayla Moore of Red Bluff, CA

Jenny Milsap - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Barrel racer Jenny Milsap of Willits, CA

Motorcycles are the hot specialty act in rodeo, and Fortuna got in on the action:

Charlie "Too Tall" West - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Charlie “Too Tall” West performs.

Metal Mulisha FMX - 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

Metal Mulisha FMX riders perform

I want to thank Lou Bugenig, John & Roy Curless, and committee president Shannon McWhorter for making everything possible.

Posted in blog, rodeo. RSS 2.0 feed.

One Response to 2012 Fortuna Rodeo

  1. Mary Bullwinkel says:

    These photos are fantastic! Great job…I live in Fortuna and know both Roy and John Curless very well…glad they could help you with this project. Again, awesome photos!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>