The first few of the bull riders at Rowell Ranch Rodeo seemed to do pretty well and make it for the full duration. It turns out that this was an aberration and the remainder of the riders seemed to have a lot of problems. Some still went the distance but a lot of them were thrown off. Getting thrown from a bull is a risky proposition.
Let’s put aside the problem with falling at speed from an animal. Instead, contemplate being on the ground and a little disoriented when you need to get out of the way of a seriously pissed off bull that weighs a lot! This is where the other people come in to play. Their role is to distract the attention of the bull away from the rider while someone helps him get to his feet. It is something that looks perilous and, I imagine, it is.
My visit to the Rowell Ranch Rodeo was the night of the bull riding. I had never seen this in person before and was curious to see how things went. It was an evening show and the clouds had rolled in so it was pretty dark, even early in the evening. They had floodlights but they were not doing too much for me so I was really testing the high ISO capabilities of the camera for the first time. I was often shooting at 51,200. I have to say that, while the shots are not super clean, they are not too bad at all.
The most dramatic moments seemed to be shortly after they came out of the chute. The bulls leap into the air and the rider hangs on like crazy. It seemed that, if they made it through the initial period, they often went the full time. If they were unsettled initially, they were struggling from then on. More to come of that…