Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Extreme Rodeo: barrels. bulls and mutton-busters

The Boys' Ranch benefit rodeo is a popular event so we weren't about to miss it. The stands were filled with adults, the grassy slopes around the arena attracted the younger set.
Attacking the first barrel. Photo by Debi Lander.

Cowgirls on racing quarter horses defied gravity circling the clover-leaf of barrels trying to finish the course faster than anyone else. Given the number of farms and ranches there was a lot of action.
Photo by Debi Lander

Ride 'em cowkid! Photo by Debi Lander. 
The youngest buckaroos then headed to the chutes. This was Debi's first experience with rodeo and especially  mutton-busting so she had an altogether different reaction. While I was giggling, here's what she thought:

I never attended a rodeo before the one held in Sioux Falls and knew nothing about Mutton Bustin’.  But, I soon learned it involved sheep that were not Mary’s little lambs.

The mutton competition involves youngsters ages 3-8 riding full grown sheep as if the animals were bucking broncos. Some might call the activity training wheels for bull riding. Whatever. 

As a grandparent, I wouldn’t put one of my grandchildren on a live animal with the goal of hanging on until knocked off and possibly trampled.   

Ride 'em, maybe. Photo by Debi Lander.
The finale, as always, the bull riding. A few locals plus cowboys still trying to amass enough points - winnings - to qualify for the national championships tackled the recalcitrant bulls who don't take kindly to being ridden. One, a rank Brahma-Angus-mean cross, bucked so hard in the chute his would-be rider risked life and limb three times before being given another bull.

Debi's reaction: Although not many stayed on for the qualifying time, the riders were real macho cowboys and I was impressed.

Can’t say I wanna be a cowboy but I honestly enjoyed the entire event. 

That pretty much sums it up for both of us.

We had to escape the giant bass at Outdoor Classroom before hitting the road to the Badlands.

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