Clicking the pics will show a bigger picture, but not the blood sweat and tears that makes up a rodeo.
Rodeos tend to last for several hours so restrooms are extremely important and this place had some nice ones.
At the last minute I decided to head back to the Pima County Fairgrounds so I would have more stuff to do that I enjoy. But before I left I made this blog post, and before I could put it out, I left. But I didn't want to waste it so here it is even though I'm boondocking at the Pima County Fairgrounds once again.
This would be a good blog post to skip if you don't care about rodeo.
Since I have unlimited access to an old shut down rodeo arena, I thought this would provide a good opportunity for me to explain maybe a little bit about how a rodeo works, concentrating on the part I'm most familiar with, which is rough stock in general, and bull riding in particular.
There's a fair amount of roping disciplines going on at a rodeo arena, And this arena has everything you need to do roping, but I'm just going to concentrate on the rough stock, so I can limit the blog to one post and limit the number of pictures to a manageable size.
One of the first things you have to do at a rodeo is drag the arena. The drag breaks up the hard dirt, fluffs it up, and smooths it out. That makes it a little softer for the rough stock riders to land on. The drag at the Pima County Fairgrounds, and they have several, costs thousands of dollars and are pulled by a large tractor. This drag is homemade and probably pulled by a volunteer in his pickup truck.
Your spectators need someplace to sit, and since this is all the seats there are, they obviously weren't expecting many spectators.
The old rodeo arena was obviously used for barrel racing also. That brings the girls to the sport.
The most important thing at a rodeo besides the riders, is the rough stock. Without bulls and broncos a rodeo would be pretty boring. And since the rough stock has to be transported in a large truck, there needs to be a way to get the rough stock off the truck and into the pens at the rodeo. And this adjustable ramp serves that purpose.
This is probably something you've never seen before, because usually it's in the background somewhere. When the rough stock is herded out of the pens and into the chutes they need to be "dressed," the bulls need the bull rope tied onto them and the broncos need a saddle or a bareback rigging put on, and this special area is where that's done.
Dressing these agitated animals can at times be dangerous, so the animal is held in this area by two doors that lets them in and out. The cut out where the bar is missing is to give the rider an area to put what's needed on the animal without getting his arm broken. And the board is there to stand on to do things that need to be done on top of the animal.
. This is the front of the chutes where the animal comes out into the arena. This is where the guys that open the gates, and the bull fighters hang around.
This is the back of the shoots where a lot of the action is. The riders and the safety men stand on the board so they have access to the top of the animal, and they can help the rider get himself situated into his saddle or rigging, and the bull rider to get his rope tight and wrapped around his hand.
The bull rider wears one glove on his holding hand, and that glove, and the area of his bull rope that he wraps around his hand are liberally covered in pine pitch so the rope and his glove cannot slip.
And of course you have to have an announcers booth, and an announcer that can see everything and keep up with who's going where and when, and of course keeps the score.
So that's basically a rodeo. It was a lot simpler in the early days when people weren't worried about safety issues. I used to have a picture taken in the little town of Woodland Park I used to live in Colorado, and it showed the town rodeo.
30 or 40 towns-folk made a covered wagon style circle with their 1940s and 1950s cars and that became the rodeo arena. You can imagine what happened to some of those cars when a bull got mad. But nobody cared, rodeo was a tough sport and tough people participated in it.... And apparently tough people watched it, people that didn't mind a bulls horn sticking in their windshield .