For reasons still unclear to me, I wasn't allowed to shoot the 2009-2011 versions of the Oakdale Rodeo. So for the first time since 2008, I made the short drive over to the Oakdale Saddle Club to get some pictures for the Flying U Rodeo Co. and Zuma Press. Lots of rain in the prior few days left the arena under over a foot of mud, a non-trivial amount of which left attached to my gear, jeans, and boots. But mud makes for great pictures, and Oakdale has a unique shooting position that looks directly across the chutes which makes getting caked in dirt worth it. At their rodeos, Flying U raises a flag-bearing mounted horseman/woman out of a giant boot during the national anthem. I wanted to get a picture of the inside of he boot, and I got there just as Cindy Rosser was loading her horse:
I very rarely shoot from the conventional positions, especially at rodeos, but the main position at Oakdale is right beside the bucking chutes, angled to look across all of the chutes. If you do it right, the pictures from here look like you're actually in the arena:
Trevor Kastner somehow had a nice ride and got off on his feet, skipping most of the dirt that tagged even the most successful riders..
...until his friend Seth Glause ran out and tackled him into the mud:
Dustin Smith won the bull riding, but got thrown and landed on his head. I guess the winner's check soothes all:
The steer wrestlers always have it worst when it comes to a muddy arena, because they simply can't do their job without getting coated:
Lots of barrel racers turned out (didn't show up) because their horses are more vulnerable in the slop, but the ones who did made the most of it:
Some early clips: