Lipstick for goats

Lipstick for goats

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Braidwood Rodeo - Ride 'em Cowboy!

On the weekend I attended the annual Braidwood Rodeo.  In my walk between two lives, city and country, I have had to adjust many of my city perceptions about certain aspects of country life. 

I understand so many people believe rodeos to be a cruel form of sport and entertainment; whereas country people look at the rodeo as a way to express and hone their stockmanship with horses and cattle; after careful consideration and attending a number of rodeos this is also the view I have adopted.  
The rodeo is a demonstration of all necessary skills used on stations, although I am certain there is not a situation where a station hand would need to ride a bull! The rodeo bulls toss those cowboys around like rag dolls, I figure it’s the bull’s due revenge for unnecessary human machoism.

Hello, just passing!

Most sports hold a degree of personal danger; being a participant in a rodeo would have to be the ultimate in physical danger that I can think of, why would anyone put themselves on the back of a 900 kg bull hell bent on grinding you into the dust! When those boys get bucked off they can’t choose how they’re going to land, mostly meeting the ground head-first or shoulder-first and trying to avoid stamping hooves.

Be gone flea on my back!

For those handsome young cowboy dudes punishing their bodies beyond normal endurance. I wonder if they think about how crippled their bods will be by the time they reach 40 years old. The song line comes to mind ‘Mama don’t let your sons grow up to be cowboys.’

Very nice stock indeed!

There's something quite manly about a guy in a cowboy shirt, jeans with a big belt buckle, and the cowboy hat...mmm, very easy on the eyes.

There are actually rodeo events for juniors aged under 8 to 15 years old!  Why would a mother allow her child under 8 years old to ride a bucking calf?  Is she totally mad, devoid of common sense?   

I present it to you this way, the answer to that is the same as why I allowed my son to have a peewee motorbike at 4 years of age or another mother allowing her young son to play rugby league; it is a lifestyle the parents are accustomed to.

Any child under 8 is held on by an adult and lifted off before they fall, so it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I watched one little boy cry with disappointment because he didn’t get a long enough ride.

As a mother my heart was in my mouth for this little cowboy in the making. He was competing in the under 11 steer riding. I think he wrapped the rope around his hand and couldn't loosen it. Happy to report he was fine thanks to to bullfighers.

The Professional Australian Rodeo Association state amazingly low animal injury statistics, by law they have to record the slightest injury.  It is the competitors who are overwhelmingly the ones hurt. 

I overheard two bulls talking, they are thinking of forming a committee called Animals against cruelty to humans with little regard for their own safety or aacth for short.....

On the day there were five injuries in the arena, all of these had two legs, fortunately four of these were not seriously hurt.  This bronco rider ended his day with two compressed vertebrae in his back, he reckons 'after a bit of a rest he will be back bustin' broncs'. Not one four legger was hurt.

Rodeo livestock are respected as athletes just the same as the riders. A good rodeo horse is worth $10,000. Many of today’s rodeo stock providers have developed sophisticated breeding programs to allow them to breed horses and bulls specifically to buck. Many horses are utilised that already have an inclination to be incorrigible buckers therefore not able to be used in other situations and would have been sent for slaughter. 

Rick Wilson of Tumut Rodeo Contractors told me his horses do up to fifteen rodeos a year, and buck out for eight seconds at a time, no more than three times during the day; putting this into perspective that is less than 6 minutes a year. The bulls have a similar schedule. 

These animals are considered elite athletes, they’re very well looked after being fed the very best food everyday to keep them in peak physical condition, eventually retiring as pasture or stud animals.

The horse whisperer wranglers.

Barrel racing is a timed event. The goal is to circle three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern
without knocking over a barrel, then sprinting back to the start as fast as possible. The sport requires supreme agility of both horse and rider. 

These guys are the bullfighters. They are either paid handsomely to expose themselves to great danger or they are completely crazy. I'm opting for crazy! Their job is to distract the cranky bull from the human he just chucked unceremoniously into the sand by giving him an alternate target. They do a great job of keeping the competitors safe. 

Just sitting up here, safe and sound while the bullfighters distract the bull.
Team steer roping.

Bronco Riders.

Strapping up old injuries before participating in his event. 

Un-decorating the steer of its pretty pink ribbon. Wow, these girls have amazing riding skills!

Steer wrestling.

Such magnificent creatures, and yes, for once I do mean the horses!

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