Last year was my first time shooting the Clovis Rodeo, but I had such a great time there and made some of my favorite pictures. Of course I was excited to go again. I arrived a couple of hours before Friday evening's performance, and hung around the chutes catching up with some friends and making some new ones. The bucking chutes at Clovis have some interesting angles, and I spent a good bit of time trying different things.
Another cool part of the Clovis Rodeo is the Special Kids Rodeo held just before the last performance on Sunday. Cowboys who are up that day come out to show the kids about roping, bucking and riding. It's really inspirational, and I love shooting it.
During the saddle bronc section on Friday night, rodeo clown JJ Harrison came over and took my camera. "It's OK," he says. He then holds it up to the crowd and starts taunting the other photographers (who I am not allowed to mention) "My lens is bigger than yours!" This is how I get into trouble without even doing anything.
To the action...some great rides:
A couple of reaction pictures I liked:
On the way to Clovis I was lamenting my bad luck at Red Bluff where all of the buckoffs seemed to go away from me. I guess everything evens out, because I got more than my share this weekend:
They moved slack around this year to run Wednesday/Thursday/Friday mornings, and I couldn't get there in time so I missed out on the nice 7am light this year. I didn't shoot as much roping/steer wrestling as I would have liked, but I'll get more as the season progresses.
Some barrel racing:
I like a lot of things about the Clovis Rodeo, but easily the best thing about it is being able to hang over the edge of the roof and shoot directly down on the bull riding. I'm scared of heights (even the 30 feet from the roof to the dirt) but the pictures make it worthwhile because it's so rare that I am able shoot anything from directly overhead.
One thing you can see very clearly when shooting bull riding from overhead is the incredible work done by the bullfighters aka the cowboy lifesavers. I can't be sure, but I think these two psychos had a bet going on the craziest save. I'm not sure what else would explain some of their moves this weekend:
Thanks to Alfreda Sebasto and Chuck Riggsbee for the great access.