The 87th Fiesta de los Vaqueros

Your Photographer At The End Of The Day

To view some of my archived rodeo images: click here

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The fury of hair & spittle, rattling teeth & hard hooves thumping the arena floor, is over – well, at least for today.

I remember somebody once saying that life is a random lottery of meaningless tragedies and near-misses – the words ring true at rodeo. Thankfully, no serious injuries today, but there were some breath-stopping moments. The exhilaration of a crowd relieved is difficult to explain, when a potentially injured cowboy stands up, dusts off his ass, and gives an enthusiastic thumbs up – even if his ride didn’t qualify.

It was a perfect, warm Tucson day out at the rodeo grounds, and attendance is up. Over five-thousand people descended on the arena, unencumbered by inclement weather. The rough-stock were in rare form, thick winter coats  increasing their perceived size and demeanor. There were several talented performers in the dirt today, but the boy who stole the show was a young bull rider from Lubbock, Texas. Chandler Bounds – a twenty-year-old who’s deceptively gentle features & lean build might place him somewhere near fifteen – stole the show with an eighty-six point ride.

Out of sixteen furious bulls, only four cowboys were able to hang on for eight seconds; that’s four qualified rides in sixteen. You know it’s a tough sport when – at an event that draws the best talent from around the country – only twenty-five percent make it to the next round.

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I’ve done my edits for the day and it’s time for food and sleep before the next round.

I’ll show you some great images of all the action, including Chandler’s ride. It’s time to finish my coffee and get back out there.

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