Barrel Racing

Giddy up, cowboy! This is the Reno Rodeo. I’m no cowgirl (horses kind of scare me), but going to the Reno Rodeo last month was an experience like no other.

Regardless of how you feel about the event or the sport, it can’t be denied that “rodeo” has generally existed in some form for hundreds of years — possibly all the way back to bull riding and wrestling by the Minoans of Crete. More recently, of course, we’re familiar with bull fighting in Spain, but the rodeo as we know it today evolved from cattle ranching in Spain, Mexico and the southwestern United States. Vaqueros and cowboys developed specialized skills for herding cattle and managing horses. These skills eventually became the focus of organized competitions between men and women, with events like calf roping and barrel racing.

The Reno Rodeo, self-proclaimed as the “Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West”, bucked off in 1919 and has been going strong ever since. It’s the third largest tour rodeo of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. More than 100,000 spectators attend the Reno Rodeo over the course of 10 days. Even kids get involved — strapping on helmets, straddling sheep and hanging on for dear life as they’re let loose into the arena for Mutton Busting (see photo). It’s not just about riding and roping — there’s an amusement park, shopping area and plenty of amazing things on the barbecue to ensure you have an all-around authentic rodeo experience.

Taking photos was, obviously, the highlight for me since the rodeo celebrates a lifestyle that is vastly different from my own (although I do relate to country living). It was fun to wear a cowboy hat, drink some honey whiskey and reminisce about the good ol’ days of the wild, wild west.


  1. OMG, K! What great photos. I grew up in San Antonio, Tx, and Rodeo Week in February was always something we went to. What memories this brings back. Especially love the kid clinging to the sheep photo 🙂


    1. Thanks Angel! Happy I could conjure up some memories for you! Yes, the mutton busting was pretty funny! Hanging on for dear life! Like nothing I’ve ever seen. Cool to know you’re a rodeo chick! You should go to Reno next time! 🙂 K.


  2. Really nice action shots Kelly. Not so easy at a rodeo. We lived in Dallas (twice) and rodeos got to be a once or twice a year event for us. For most people, they’re probably an acquired taste, but it’s a great excuse to get outdoors, drink a few cold ones, and frolic with the horsey set. BTW, I particularly like the photo of the bronc rider with the digital clock in the background. Sweet. ~James


    1. Thanks James! Dallas must have been a great rodeo to see! Agreed — the rodeo is good fun. It was good practice shooting photos — there is definitely a rhythm to the bull and bronc riding that you have to see and feel in order to get any good shots. Thanks for noticing the digital clock detail — that’s one photo I particularly like too. Thanks for stopping by! Say hello to Terri for me!


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