Click the pics, They might be interesting ........ but not likely.
To break up the monotony of my everyday blog I decided to do something different, not interesting, not better, not entertaining, just different.
Since I was wandering around the rodeo grounds here at the Fairgrounds, wishing there was actually a rodeo going on, I got to thinking about all the times I've been to rodeos behind the scenes and got to see what you might call "back stage" of the rough stock events. Rough stock meaning Bulls, Bareback, and Saddle Broc riding. A lot of folks go to the rodeo just to see those events, especially the Bull riding, which is always scheduled last, so you will stay for the whole show.
This whole blog post would be a lot more interesting if there actually was a rodeo going on, but what will be will be, and this is what be.
This is what everyone sees when they're sitting in the bleachers. But I've always found what was going on behind, and in those chutes pretty interesting.
The Horses and the Bulls, henceforth referred to as rough stock, are brought to the rodeo by stock contractors that actually make a pretty good living renting out rough stock to rodeos.
The big time professional rodeos rent the biggest, meanest, most dangerous, highly expensive, rough stock they can get. And believe it or not the Cowboys like that because the Cowboys ride is scored based 50% on how well he rides and 50% how well the critter bucks, so the meaner the rough stock the better.
The stock contractor unloads one or more semi trucks that are designed to haul livestock around and puts the animals in pens close to the event like this pen you're looking at. There's three or four of these pens and they unload enough rough stock so that each cowboy gets a ride and an extra head or two in case there might be some re-rides.
The Bareback and Saddle Broncs go first, and then these holding pens are emptied before the Bulls are brought in.
This is the alley that takes the rough stock from those first holding pens, to the chutes. These metal bars you see everywhere are called panels, and panel gates. There's basically two types of panels, regular farm panels which are 5 feet tall, and rodeo stock panels, which are made of much thicker stronger material, and are 6 feet tall.
You can't believe what it looks and sounds like when four or five highly irritated bulls are herded down this alley, the bulls are bellowing and banging on the panels, so it's not wise to be anywhere in the area, since they will try to hook you through the panels.
The alley is made narrow so the bulls can't turn around, which doesn't mean they won't try. The stock contractor and his Cowboys are usually the ones moving the stock around because they know each head personally, which ones are going to give trouble, and which ones are going to go along with the program.
At the end of that alley is the destination. There's five chutes and each one has a sliding door so the rough stock can get from one end to the other. And there's a door at the other end to let any critters out that for some reason, didn't get used.
But normally there will be five bulls one in each chute with each one getting prepped to be ridden. It takes a while to get the bull rope around the Bull which is usually done by the rider, especially at small rodeos like this.
This is the belly of the beast. The announcers booth is always right above the bucking chutes so the announcer can keep up with who's doing what, and keep the crowd informed. The riders usually hang around this area under and around the announcers booth because that's where the action is
That shelf you see attached to the chutes is actually a walkway where the riders stand when it's just about time for them to get on the bull. The walkways about 4 feet off the ground. On the walkway with the rider is a safety man, it could be a friend, or another rider, but it needs to be somebody you trust. Their job is to pull on the bull rope to tighten it up around the bull, and help you get your hand tied onto the Bull with the standard tie that's called a suicide wrap.
But their main job is to hold you steady by grabbing you by your belt or your shoulders, to keep the worst thing imaginable from happening to you at a time when you're very vulnerable since you're not yet tied onto the Bull. If the Bull starts bucking in the chute, which they do all the time, and you fall off the Bull down into the chute, your now under an angry, agitated, 2000 pound bull in a very confined space that you can't get out of.... No good can come of this.
When the Bull rider is ready he nods his head, at the gate man, he doesn't speak because he's biting down too hard on his mouthpiece, the gate man opens the chute, and the longest eight seconds in sports unfolds in the arena.
After the Bull is finished dancing the lambada on the cowboys chest, one of the bull fighters herds the Bull into this funnel-shaped area where that white gate will be open and the Bull goes through it and has no other option than to turn left.
That left turn will direct him down this alley were one of the pen gates will be open, and he will go in that pen where half a dozen of his friends are resting up after their eight seconds of hard work. And that's probably all those bulls do until tomorrow. Then Sunday afternoon they will be loaded back on the truck, and taken back to the ranch where they may or may not do this again next weekend.
It's actually a pretty good life for a bull, when you consider the alternative is laying on a bun covered in ketchup and mustard.