Friday, August 10, 2007

The Slacker Rodeo

Nance and I got to the fair yesterday and discovered that they were charging extra for the evening rodeo this year--usually grandstand seating for the evening event is included in the gate admission. We had no interest in paying the $15 per head that they were charging, so we decided to be content with the afternoon slack rodeo on the schedule of events, even though we didn't really know what a slack rodeo was.

We went anyway, sat in the stands and cheered for the cowboys and cowgirls that were competing in the various events. The announcer seemed disinterested in the whole event and the sparse crowd was mellow and lazy, barely clapping for most of the competitors, unless they had done something spectacular. One teenager wandered around slowly selling popcorn, but he looked like he'd rather be at home with his video games.

It was so unlike the main event in the evening, when emotions run high and excitement fills the air. Then, even the losers are cheered wildly and rodeo clowns entertain the enthusiastic crowd during every lull in the action. This one felt almost boring, even though the brave competitors were pouring their hearts into their performances.

Nance and I began to call it the slacker rodeo, and guessed that maybe this was the junior event for the wanna-be rodeo riders who didn't make it to the big show.

Googling "slack rodeo" today, I found page after page of listings, but they were all references to specific rodeos that also have a slack rodeo scheduled. No one would tell me what the term actually meant. Finally, I discovered that the slack rodeo is just an overflow event for all the competitors who don't fit into the tight time schedule of the evening event. They are generally ranked lower than the top eschelon of performers, but their scores count just the same.

We only caught two events, but it was fun to see, regardless of the lack of excitement in the stands. I've decided that rodeo is a very photogenic sport and I'd like to try my hand at photographing another one some time. Here are some images from calf roping:

And here is the barrel racing:

I will post more photos of the fair soon. There are just too many great images to pass up at a place like that. We had a great day, staying until nearly eleven o'clock at night. So fun.

Oh, and you might notice in the background of many of these images, especially some of the calf roping pictures, that it continues to be very smoky in this part of the country. That's not just rodeo dust making up that haze.

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