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Saddle Bronc Finals at the Tsuu T’ina Rodeo


Ready to ride - 2014 © Christopher Martin

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Seth Fenner in flight - 2014 © Christopher Martin

The finals of the 40th annual Tsuu T’ina Nation Indian Rodeo were held on July 27th.  This rodeo is a favourite of mine as the competitors, the stock and the atmosphere are all excellent.  This year was no exception and I had a great afternoon photographing the cowgirls and cowboys in their respective riding, racing and roping events.  The Saddle Bronc is always exciting as these horses get charged up and it is incredibly hard for anyone to hang on for the required 8 seconds.  Seth Fenner walked away as the champion with a memorable ride on Cowboy Casanova that earned him 76.5 points (the photograph above is from that ride; the one below is at the end of the ride when the pickup men come in to assist the cowboy’s dismount).

With help from the pickup men - 2014 © Christopher Martin

The high quality of the stock contributed to a great final and the cowboys met the challenge.  The cowboys in this event always amaze me – it’s like riding a rocket while wrestling an angry crocodile.  There were a couple of qualified a number of exciting rides with a couple full times and a couple buck offs.  It’s fun to watch and I’m always impressed how skilled and committed all of the supporting cast are (the pick up men, rodeo clowns, officials and beyond).  The Tsuu T’ina Rodeo is on the same level as much larger rodeos and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.

A fight to fly - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Here are a few more photos from the Saddle Bronc event.  I will share more from the other events soon.

Bucked off - 2014 © Christopher Martin

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Charging out - 2014 © Christopher Martin

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One second to ground - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Electric Sky

A very energetic storm rolled out of the mountains and spread across the prairies last night.  Bobbi was driving home as the clouds thickened and the lightning began to streak across the sky.  At her urging, I went out to photograph the light show and it was spectacular.  The summer heat seemed to have loosened up Zeus’s arm and he was firing bolts down to the ground and between clouds for a couple of hours.

Lightning Forest - 2014 © Christopher Martin

(Please click on the image if you would like to view a higher resolution version)

This image was taken at the sports field in Redwood Meadows just a little ways from my house.  The clouds were running east along the south side of the Elbow River.  To the north, the sky was clear which presented an interesting background to lightning.  Following a few minutes set up by the field, I went out onto the prairies after this image and had a great (although late) night storm watching.

Getting ready to ride

Getting' ready to ride - 2014 © Christopher Martin

This boy had the far off gaze that I see on many of the cowboys and cowgirls faces as they get set for their turn at the rodeo.  This little cowboy was competing in the mutton busting event where young boys and girls ride out of the gate on the back of a spirited sheep.  As with the senior riding events, the goal is to stay on which is no easy task no matter what you are on the back of.

The Tsuu T’ina Pow Wow on Saturday

Pow Wow's crowd and performers - 2014 © Christopher Martin

I went next door to the Tsuu T’ina Pow Wow and All-Indian Rodeo with Bobbi, Kezia and a few of our friends.

Pow Wow Dancers

After watching both, Kezia preferred the Pow Wow over the rodeo.  Bobbi and I were lucky as we were invited to join her so we all had a great time listening to the drums and singing as well as watch the wonderful dancing.

Pow Wow dancer - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Tomorrow is the last day of this great annual event.  I will be focusing on the rodeo over the dancing this year so it was great to have a few hours to watch the competitions that follow the grand entrance.

 Pow Wow dancers - 2014 © Christopher Martin

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Pow Wow dancers - 2014 © Christopher Martin

On one side of the fence

On the fence - 2014 © Christopher Martin

 

A Grizzly Boar’s Breakfast in the Khutzeymateen

A Grizzly Boar's Breakfast in the Khutzeymateen - 2014 © Christopher Martin

(Please click on any image if you would like to view a higher resolution version in a new window)

When the Grizzly Bears wake up from their hibernation in the mountains above the Khutzeymateen Inlet, the sedge grass is waiting for them.  When Bobbi and I were there in June breakfast, lunch and dinner for them finds sedge on the menu.   On this cold, wet morning this boar was one of several bears spaced out along the banks of the estuary at low tide mowing away.  The volume, of grass eaten and sound created, were both very impressive.

Attack!

Owl's Attack - 2014 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII and 500mm lens: 1/16ooth of a second on f/4 and ISO 2500

I have been trying to capture this image for a long time.  With the familiarity I’ve been lucky to establish with the Great Gray Owl pair in West Bragg Creek this year, they will often hunt near to where I am set up.  On the weekend, one of the owls flew towards me and made a couple of dives from the post he landed on a few yards away.  The stars aligned on one of these attacks and I froze him just before he disappeared into the knee-high grass.

Red-naped Sapsucker in Bragg Creek

 

Red-naped Sapsucker - 2014 © Christopher Martin

It always exciting when I come across a new creature for the first time.  On the weekend, while photographing two beautiful owls, I had my first encounter with a Red-naped Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus nuchalis).  I’m used to seeing Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers frequently around Bragg Creek but the distinctive red patches sent me looking through my bird book to identify this new (to me) species.  We are on the northwest edge of their summer range but they are apparently quite conspicuous so I must have missed them previously.

Scratch - 2014 © Christopher Martin

(Please click on any image if you would like to view a higher resolution version in a new window)

When one of the owls flew to a fence post near a stand of trees, it disturbed this small woodpecker.  The little bird started chittering away and ended up flying out of the tree above the owl and landing on a post in front of me.  He settled down and took a minute to scratch the feathers on his nape before heading across the meadow.  It didn’t bother the owl in the least but I really enjoyed the short visit.

Red-naped Sapsucker - 2014 © Christopher Martin

 

Flight

Flight - 2014 © Christopher Martin

(Please click on the image if you would like to view a higher resolution version)

A pretty simple image from an early morning this weekend.   I watched the pair hunting over the field in West Bragg Creek for three hours and enjoyed many great opportunities.  This was one of my favourites on the day.

A Coyote Lookback

A little curiosity - 2014 © Christopher Martin

This young coyote was sitting on the edge of the gravel road when I walked by.  We watched each other for a minute and then the pup got up and trotted away.  Given their curiosity, I hoped for a look back over the shoulders and he was kind enough to oblige.  He hopped off of the road right after this and joined a second pup and the mother.  They were in the trees so I caught a fleeting glimpse of the family but no photographs.

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