The rodeo is intense. I never really knew much about it, but I’ve always been intrigued by the high risk high reward environment of rodeo. Riding bulls and riding broncos isn’t easy, although it is easy to get hurt. I wanted to capture rodeo culture as it is on display. Competitive rodeo consists of multiple events, where the winner takes home awards and money in many cases. The events include calf roping, team roping, steer wrestling, bronc riding, bull riding, and barrel racing.
My main goal is to display the energy that comes with these events. Rodeo is as dangerous as any other mainstream sport. Helmets are optional, and many riders go without one. It definitely isn’t conventional in terms of sports, let alone a way to make money. The top riders make upwards of $150,000-$200,000 amid multiple competitions. The draw of rodeo? Adrenaline. Photographing the events had me excited and on the edge of my seat. You never know what is going to happen. Will they hold on the whole time? Will they be able to rope the calf? All these questions are answered within seconds. The events are so fast paced, but in order to ride well and ride safely, these people have to practice for hours and hours to even have a chance to make something from the competition.
I wanted to create a set of photos that was almost out of my control. These moments happen so quickly and I wanted to present something that I didn’t have control over. Sure I needed to choose my lens, camera settings, et cetera; but those moments were not up to me. What happened in the arena was not my choice. I think there’s something to be said for photography that captures real moments. Just like these riders and ropers have to practice in order to participate in the rodeo, I needed practice with fast paced photography to create these images. I hope you enjoy them.