The Mother Lode Round-Up was one of the first few rodeos to grant me access, so I'm always happy to make the trip to the beautiful Gold Country to shoot their rodeo. This was my third trip to Sonora, CA, and it was a great time yet again.
While Red Bluff does the team bronc riding on the track making it hard to get pictures from anywhere safe, the Mother Lode does it in the arena:
They also have the Calf Scramble where contestants have to tie a ribbon on a calf's tail. It's much harder than you'd think. This series shows just how hard:
And of course, mutton bustin':
To the official part of the rodeo:
It was good to see my good friend Billy Bugenig take home another buckle & check for steer wrestling:
I had never seen a left-handed roper before, and it was crazy to see Garrett Roen dismount on the "wrong" side and run under his rope:
More conventional roping:
The Mother Lode Round-Up is also great for shooting barrel racing. The light is perfect, and one of the barrels is just a few yards from the fence:
The roughstock action was especially rough this year:
Bryce Brown scored an impressive 84 which held up for third place, but it didn't prevent him from having to run away very fast from Fine Line:
I recognized two riders from the practice sessions I shot at B-Bar. Tyler Stueve came very close to covering Cowboy Caviar, a bull that has bucked off his share of NFR cowboys:
And 38-year-old Chance Hannum won the whole thing with an awesome 87 on Smoke Signal:
The bullfighters once again put on a clinic. Eric Layton came out of nowhere to jump in to save Jed Jones, but injured his knee and unfortunately missed the rest of the rodeo:
Bull rider Josh Daries put on a vest and filled in ably for Layton, here teaming up with Rick Moffatt to battle Mr Saturday Night...
...who continued after Moffatt, knocking his shades right off his head:
I don't generally shoot the specialty acts, but Bert Davis the Coppertown Clown and his Mutley Crew is a pretty special specialty act. Davis takes rescue dogs and trains them to jump through hoops and more. Note to my committee/staff friends: this is a must see and must book act:
Thanks to the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Posse for another great rodeo, and for letting me do my thing.
An early clip from Sports Illustrated's Photos of the Day: