North Central Rodeo Days, a blast in Medford

September 26, 2010

Sign

How time flies! I attended the 22nd Annual Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Pro Rodeo in Medford, Taylor County, held from June 4-6, 2010. It's taken me this long to catch up.

I cannot remember when, or if, I have ever been at a professional rodeo. For me, this was great fun. I saw things I do not recall ever seeing before, live. They had different events scheduled each day. On June 6, I got to watch bareback riding, saddle bronco riding, Tie Down Roping, and Team Roping.

This will be mostly a photo portfolio presentation, with my "rookie comments" where I feel bold enough to offer them.

BreckeRodeoArenaSign

The events were held at the Brecke Rodeo Arena in Medford, which also serves as the Taylor County Rodeo Arena.

BreckeEdBergerChad

This is a photo of Ed Brecke on the right, Chad Berger on the left. I cornered them at the beer stand! As I understand it, Ed Brecke is mainly a horseman who founded this event some 22 years ago. Ed insisted that Chad be in the photo, saying he was the very best in the world with bulls. It turns out Chad operates Chad Berger Bucking Bulls which is, among other things, an organization that runs a professional Bull Riding (PBR) Challenger Tour event every year. My guess is they teamed up for this rodeo in Medford.

ParkingLadies

When I drove into the grounds, these two ladies led me to the parking area where they wanted me to park. Kind of a nice way to be greeted, I thought!

Before the rodeo began, I walked around clicking some photos during the preparation period.

First, some folks limbering up their horses. Marvelous for a city boy to watch, frankly.

LimberingUpHorses

LimberingUpHorsesA

LimberingUpHorsesB

LimberingUpHorsesD

LimberingUpHorsesC

I got a kick out of this shot, a horse calmly grazing while two puppies race each other through the grass!

Bar

It was critical to locate the Saloon!

FoodShop

And equally critical to locate the brats! Once done, I could explore the inside of the arena.

Of course, plenty of stuff to buy.

StufftoBuy

StufftoBuyA

StufftoBuyB

StufftoBuyC

StufftoBuyD

Enough of this browsing around, got to get to the rodeo preparations.

PicnicArea

I got here early, as did these people, who posted themselves near the Saloon and the Brat Stand.

Crowd

The crowd started to fill up fast as we got closer to start time. These people selected a spot closer to the center of the arena.

As I continued walking around, I watched the contestants get ready. They took this preparation time very seriously.

ContestantReady

ContestantReadyA

ContestantReadyB

Watch this guy. He has a way to practice on the ground.

ContestantReadyC

ContestantReadyD

ContestantReadyE

ContestantReadyF

ContestantReadyG

ContestantReadyH

ContestantReadyI

Oops, he did that just as the shutter opened!

Enough of this. They're getting ready to get the show on the road with opening ceremonies.

Open

The Master of Ceremonies takes center stage.

EdBreckeWelcome

Ed Brecke (left) brings the festivities to order, welcomes crowd and contestants.

Colors

Waiting for the "Go" are men and women ready to fly the flags of the military services and the colors.

ArmyMarines

Marines and Army.

USAFUSN

Air Force and Navy.

Contestants

Some staff mixed in with the flag bearers.

USAF

So, your editor is retired Air Force. This young lad is beaming with delight carrying the USAF flag! I was proud of him.

USFlag

The best for last.

The National Anthem, and let the rodeo begin.

Clown

Arrival of the clown tells all hands we're ready to go.

PrepareHorse

Contestant readies his mount while the first contestant prepares to launch.

BarebackRidingA

Bareback rider out of the chute.

BarebackRiding

The battle of wills and brawn is underway.

BarebackRidingB

If you have a sore back, try another sport.

BarebackRidingC

The mount hits the breaks, the men hustle for the fences, the rider is still aboard.

BarebackRidingD

This horse is mighty angry right at the git-go ...

BarebackRidingE

And left the rider out in the dust.

Next comes the steer wrestling.

SteerWrestlingA

A look at some of the steers the lads intend to wrestle.

SteerWrestlingB

It took me a while to figure out why two guys and one bull. My analysis is that they use two guys to steer the steer where they want him to go so one of them can jump off his horse to grab him.

SteerWrestlingC

I guess they feel they got him where they want him, as the rider in the orange shirt to the right is dismounting and ready to jump aboard.

SteerWrestlingF

A good shot showing the rider leaving his horse and grabbing the steer. He'll have to slide forward quickly to grab the steer by the head.

SteerWrestlingD

Believe it or not, there is a steer between both horses, one rider is on top the steer, and if you look closely at the nose of the rider-less horse, you can see that guy's arm and hand, and then you can see the steer's head and part of his body.

SteerWrestlingE

Different guys, but you can see one rider is holding on to that steer by the head and the fight is on.

SteerWrestling

Yet another one coming down.

SteerWrestlingI

You can see the rider twisting the steer's neck, trying to wrestle him to the ground.

SteerWrestlingG

The problem here is the steer is supposed to be on the ground, but looks like he's unwilling to comply. To the amateur like me, it looks like the rider is losing his grip.

SteerWrestlingH

After all that hard work, this guy lost his steer and the steer prances on in victory.

Next we move to Saddle Bronco Riding

SaddleBronc

Out of the chute!

SaddleBroncA

This rider is stickin' with him!

SaddleBroncB

So everyone here is airborne!

SaddleBroncC

So far, so good.

SaddleBroncD

Aw man, we feel your pain.

SaddleBroncE

Good look at the centerfield box and one guy out of the chute.

SaddleBroncF

So far, so good.

SaddleBroncG

Then suddenly something went very wrong. I for one hate to see this. Looks like the horse just buckled.

Next, off to tie down roping.

TieDown

Once again, out of the chute.

TieDownB

He's got him.

TieDownA

Now he's got to flip the bull and tie him down.

TieDownC

He's got him where he wants him and is ready to tie the bull's legs.

TieDownD

The race is on, the rope is in the air.

TieDownE

I like this shot because it reminds us that these guys are competing against form and all that, but the big deal is they are competing against time. So the competitors are readying to hurl the rope almost as soon as they get out of the gate.

Now to team roping.

TeamRoping

It took me a few runs to figure out what team roping was. Here you see one bull shooting out, and two team members following promptly behind.

TeamRopingA

I have to confess, this is damndest event I have seen. Because of where I was positioned, because of the route most riders took, and because of the speed at which this event occurred, I did not get a good shot of mission accomplished, and there were only a few. The degree of difficulty here has to be very high. Here you see the guy on the left has hooked the bull by the neck. The guy on the right must now hurl that rope so it slides under the bull's rear feet and then he has to hook one foot and take him down. It boggles my mind how he can do that when everyone is at full gallop.

This was exciting for me. It is great fun to watch, and I'd like to go again in order to hone my eyes better on the tactics employed.