Velva Ranch Rodeo Version 2008 (08/21/2008 11:05)

This past Sunday, I was invited to join the Velva Rodeo Committee to watch, view, participate, yell, scream, cheer and run like crazy at their Annual Ranch Rodeo. Now, ranch rodeo, although not new, is really just starting to catch on in ND and the teams numbers are growing, the team talent is really being showcased, and the fans are really enjoying it.

Although termed rodeo, it’s a bit different than the traditional sense of rodeo in the fact that the events are all things that we as ranchers (Yes! Me too!) “get” to do out in our pastures every year. From treating a cow with footrot (Yuck!) to streatching a cow to milk it to feed a young or weak calf, this is all practicle stuff. The differance is that while it’s a peice of chalk in the arena, it’s a needle full of LA-7 in the pasture. Trust me, the chalk is easier to take when stabbing yourself with it on the run to get a cow treated than it is to stab yourself with a needle during branding. Yes, been there, done that.

Something else I really love about ranch rodeo is that it’s normally competed in by family teams. Yes, mom and dad and the kids can come in off of the ranch on their ranch horses and compete together and equally. And at the Velva Ranch Rodeo this year, we had “The Young Guns” compete. If I remember correctly, all four of these young men were under the age of 16 or 17 and they did a great job! I really really really hope I get to see them in future ranch rodeos. They certainly gave it their all and looked like they were having a lot of fun!

ANYWAY…Another differance with ranch rodeo is that while in a traditional rodeo, there is one contestant in the arena at a time (two with team roping) during their run or ride, there is usually up to 8 cowboys and or cowgirls going at it. Talk about ACTION! As a photographer, sometimes, it’s pretty difficult to choose who to photograph at what time as there is ALWAYS great captures happening all over the arena at any given moment. I try to do a good job and split it up, but there are many factors that contribute to where I choose to point my lens.

1) The amount of dust in the air in any given direction affects the final results of the image so
if there is a group with a lot of dust hanging on them and around them, I will probably
choose to photograph the other team at that time who has less dust in the air.

2) Animals, and other objects blocking the view. There may be some great action going on,
but I may not capture it because a horse or a persons back or even a cow or steer may have
moved into the line of site that I have.

3) My position is also a great factor in determining what shots are capture. Yes, I’ve been
chased by cows, once in an arena (love your long horns Jim!) and a whole bunch at home
in our own calving pens. I don’t screw around with cows, I do everything I can to stay off
of the ground as much as possible when the long horn cows are in the arena. So, if I’m on
top of a barrel, well, that does affect me a little bit…but as you can see from the Velva
Ranch Rodeo gallery, it also enables me to capture some amazing shots as well!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed capturing them.  You can see them in the Equine 2008 Events gallery on the website…. AND…if you’re putting on a ranch rodeo in the future, drop me a line and let me know if you would like me there! I’d love to come if I’m available!


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