As I was putting together my rodeo schedule for this season, I noticed that I could get a couple of weeks' head start by shooting the La Grange Rodeo. With the help of Chuck and Kristin Morris of Rockin M Rodeos, I was in. A downpour on Saturday made everything a mess, but the sun came out to illuminate blue skies dotted with clouds. I caught up with friends and met a few Facebook friends for the first time:
Tim Bridwell brought some young Growney Brothers broncs to their first rodeo.
I spent some time in the cramped area behind the chutes:
The arena at La Grange is circled by an 8-foot chicken wire fence, so I shot a bit while sitting on the exit gate and some through the fence. "How's that 400 workin' out for ya?" indeed.
Lots of work for the bullfighters:
The announcer said that Mark Thompson was "north of 50" which is really amazing for any kind of roughstock rider, bareback especially.
I had a nice chat with Forrest Mallory before the rodeo where he mentioned that he was working toward his teaching credential. For the rest of the day, the idea of a cowboy teacher meant I couldn't get this scene from Weird Science out of my head. And then Forrest went head first into the dirt:
I covered Billy Bugenig's trip to the National Finals Rodeo last december, and it was great to see him pick up the win in La Grange.
Rodeos handle kiddie events differently, but the Goat Scramble at La Grange has to be my favorite. Workers release a bunch of goats in the arena, and kids chase after them. The kids who catch one GET TO KEEP IT. If anyone knows a rodeo when they do this for adults, please let me know!
I'd like to thank Chuck & Kristin Morris and Greg Bennet for setting this up for me.