Day 21 - Rodeo at Eureka, Montana
This was a first for me: a real live Rodeo Competition! We stopped at the Eureka Municipal Campsite rather early because we'd seen the announcements and the preparations for a rodeo event at 8 pm. The rain which had started to fall did not daunt us since we'd had warm weather during the last days.
At 7:30 the stands started to fill up, this seemed to be a local first class event. Kids were selling cotton candy, booths offered hot dogs, pizza, pop drinks, beer and the atmosphere was very relaxed even if the rain had obviously prevented a larger crown. The western country music added a very upbeat flavor and everybody seemed in a very good mood. Then the speaker took over and in constant interaction with a clown cowboy made the whole evening very entertaining.
The different disciplines were explained and the sense of competition increased by stressing repeatedly that the contestants had to pay a fee to have the honor of competing. The winner in each category got to take home a check!
The traditional events like barrel racing, saddle bronc riding, team roping and of course Bull Riding were shown. In "barrel racing", a rider has to ride a course around three barrels as fast as possible, going back to the beginning point before going around the second and third barrel. The horse does incredibly fast turns! The junior cowgirl is almost as good as the female champion this time.
In saddle bronc riding the winner is the rider who stays in the saddle on a bucking horse the longest, whereas in team roping two riders try to lasso a calf as fasrt as possible, the record of the evening being at under 4 seconds!
It was a great evening!
Fun to read: the announcement of the Rodeo for that weekend:
The rider and the calf are let free at the same moment ...
... and the cowboy lassos the calf ...
... then jumps off his horse and ties the calf's legs (in "real life" this would happen in order to brandmark the calf, ....
... and the longer the calf is bound and unable to free itself the more points the cowboy gets.
Racing around the barrels the horse and rider are incredibly fast and agile.