Ride 'em, Cowboy!

Somedays, you just sit back and think about how one thing leads to another and you never really figure out how you got here from there. My time in Kansas had some really interesting twists and turns like that. I ended up with some different experiences that I never expected.

One of those was my new found love of rodeo.  Now, I'm sure most of you don't equate rodeo with Kansas.  I know I sure didn't. But there are a LOT of cowboys in Kansas.  It's a major beef producing area of the country. It's where they used to do the cattle drives in the spring to feed the herds on the grass of the plains and hills. When you think of "the old West", what comes to mind?  Dodge City? Boot Hill?  Wyatt Earp? Marshall Dillon?  Lonesome Dove?  The covered wagons? The Chisholm Trail? Yeah, we're talking Kansas. It never crossed my mind that all these things were a part of Kansas history. National Geographic even has The Wild West, Kansas as one of their Drives Of A Lifetime. It surprised the heck out of me because I never even considered it when I moved out there.

A lot of folks do what they can to keep those cowboy traditions alive. And one of those things is rodeo.

Now, I had watched all of this stuff growing up in Philly, and I wished at times for the cowboy lifestyle, but it was only something I saw on TV. In my whole life, I never went to a rodeo.  Not until last summer, in of all places, St. Johns County, Florida. Not a place I would have associated with cowboys. But people came in their western wear, hats and boots. And it was a helluva lot of fun to be there. I posted the photos from that night in this http://www.photoguyofai.com/Events/A-Night-At-The-Rodeo  on my other website. I honestly thought this would be a one and done kind of thing, or maybe I might get to come back next year.

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Then came the relocation to Kansas.  At the end of my second month there, we started gearing up for the K-State Rodeo and their Bull Bash.  My partner wasn't really interested in all of this stuff, but boy I sure was.  I got to be a kid again re-living all those things I dreamed of when I was playing cowboy. And then there was all the cool action to be photographed too. It was a trip. I went to all the Bull Bash events and then when the K-State Rodeo hit town, I was all over it too.  I was back behind the scenes and roaming around the area where the competitors had their trailers and their horses, watching them practice and getting up close and personal with the bulls. It was pure fun to me. And then when they hit the arena, I was even more excited to see them do their thing and make those shots.

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A whole new world opened up for me then, that's for sure.  I will continue detailing this love affair with rodeo in the next post.  Stay tuned!