Friday, August 10, 2012


Part of Allan's course was to attend a local Rodeo on Route 24 at Roe Lake (about an hours drive from the Ranch).

I have never really considered going to a Rodeo. 
There is one in the Lower Mainland annually but it wouldn't be something I would have on a "Must Do" list for myself.  There is the famous Calgary Stampede and if I was in Calgary at the time I might go but I wouldn't make the trip for it.

I know there are some strong feelings about Rodeos and concerns about animal abuse etc....but I had few chances to get off the Ranch and do something with Al and so even with no hat, no plaid shirt, no boots and no horse (and mixed and unsettled feelings) I decided to go along for the adventure.

It was a scorching hot afternoon and after I paid my $10 entrance fee I actually didn't see Allan again until I brought him a much needed bottle of water midway through and at the end.

He was shooting an assignment and was very focused (Oh the photography jokes/references are endless - our fellow young Trinity students particularly loved the ones around "exposure") on getting particular shots (blur shots being the goal??) and trying different settings on the camera.  He stayed in pretty much the same spot baking all afternoon.

I was there to tell a story (blog fodder as I call it!), to have an experience with my camera, so I headed off to snap my shots with my trusty point and shoot.  As great as my Canon Powershot is, I was having camera insecurity issues around all the amazing SLR's and mega lenses anyway and preferred to get away from them! 

I had a great time wandering around in the back 40 through all barns and horse trailers (no sign of abused horses or cattle) and listening to the chatter.  It's like a big campground with horses thrown in.

 I watched the roping and the bucking. 
The cowboy grabs the calf and flips it over....the most rough event we watched

These cowgirls dropped the rope as soon as it was over the head
How do you like them pants? 

I was faintly discomforted by the "mutton-busting" where children under 50lbs try and ride a running sheep for as long as they can....wearing their bike helmets!!  Nevermind animal abuse I was worried this might be child abuse as a 3 year old comes flying off and is crying? I don't think it was but I do know those kids would need a bath after sitting on those stinky sheep (aptly named Knitwit, Steel wool and Twisted Sister?). Each rider got a medal for participating.  The "rides" were so short lived I don't get any decent shots.  And the sheep didn't seem bothered in the slightest.

And then the pig wrestle.......all kids under the age of 9 go "over the fence" into the ring and the parents line the ring to form a pig barrier.  A pig is let loose in the middle the gaggle of kids race after it....first kid to hang on and stop the pig wins a medal and $50 bucks.  I was watching the pig for signs of stress but he looked to be having a fine time.  The kids and the parents had a ball - there was more squealing from the humans than the pig for sure.
The Rodeo Drill Riding Team (I kid you not) was impressive in their riding and skill and those sparkling sequined turquoise shirts and white jeans added a certain panache to the whole event. 
And I finally discovered what zamboni drivers do in the summer!
It felt like everyone knew everyone.....people cheered for "their" riders, the announcer got everyone involved and as we baked together in the relentless sun it struck me that this was a community ......... pretty tight knit, celebrating a way of life I have little knowledge of or appreciation for....celebrating being together, seeing the new babies, hugging old friends, celebrating successes and shaking heads over missed chances, discussing future opportunities, new equipment, making sure the beer was colder next time :)

I don't know about those big rodeos but this small Interlakes Rodeo was down home, plaid shirt, cowboy hat, horse smelling charming........ for the humans and animals alike. 

As far as an alien like me could see anyway.


  1. This is funny Nicky, I grew up at rodeos and fairs with animals and to hear a perspective from a place where one is not so familiar and your rendition of it, it made me smile. It looks like you had a good experience, I'm glad. Have a good rest of your summer.

  2. Ahhh thanks Marlece......It was a great experience and I am glad an "insider" like yourself was not offended by my rendition! Happy Summer to you.