Rodeo

The Tsuu T’ina Rodeo Finals

Where are the brakes on this thing? - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2500th of a second at f/4 on ISO 800

The Tsuu T’ina Nation’s 39th Annual Open All Indian Rodeo ran from July 26-28 this year.  I went over several times and had a great time on the Redwood Fair Grounds watching the rodeo and the Pow Wow which combine to form the backbone of the Tsuu T’ina’s Annual Indian Days Celebration.  The rodeo finals on Sunday got started under dark skies but the rain never fell and the sun drifted in and out of the clouds throughout the afternoon.

Turning on the barrel - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/6400th of a second at f/4 on ISO 800

It was a perfect afternoon for rodeo and judging by the full grandstand, there were many people who agreed.  We were rewarded with a lot of top shelf performances by the cowgirls, cowboys and animals who were competing.  Here is a collection of a few of my images from this year’s finals.

Busted by mutton - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2500th of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600

Roping with the crowd - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/1000th of a second at f/8 on ISO 800

A hard charging partnership - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DII camera with a Canon 70-200mm lens + a 1.4X extender at 235mm: 1/1250th of a second at f/6.3 on ISO 400

The steer wrestler's leap of faith - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/1250th of a second at f/4 on ISO 800

Down in the dirt - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2000th of a second at f/4 on ISO 800

Dialed in - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/1000th of a second at f/11 on ISO 1600

Great throw! - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/1000th of a second at f/11 on ISO 1600

From one ride to another - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2000th of a second at f/5.6 on ISO 1600

Driving off the two barrel - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2500th of a second at f/4 on ISO 400

Virgil Jacobs - 2013 steer wrestling champion - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2500th of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600

The steer wrestler above is Virgil Jacobs.  He came out guns blazing and beat all the other cowboys to win the event this year.  My hat is off to you sir!

Perfect! - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/640th of a second at f/11 on ISO 1600

Who's not watching the barrel? - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2000th of a second at f/4 on ISO 400


Mastering Mutton Busting

Hanging on - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Mutton busting is an event often held during the half-time of rodeos.  The Tsuu T’ina Nation’s rodeo finals on Sunday had a very enthusiastic group of cowkids participating in this super fun event.  This young girl, flanked by her father and one of the rodeo clowns, had an iron grip on the rope around the sheep’s back.  The little steed jerked her off-centre  as the gate opened but she hung on for a great ride.  A very tough little girl!


Flying at the Tsuu T’ina Rodeo

Cowboy Flight - 2013 © Christopher Martin

On Friday night the kids and I went across the road to the Tsuu T’ina Nation Rodeo that runs July 26th to 28th this year.  It was a warm, sunny evening and it was great to see the stands pretty close to full.  With a good crowd on hand, the riders were fired up and there were some great performances. This cowboy had a wild ride that ended up with him earning a free flight.  I will be heading back for the finals on Sunday – I’m looking forward to another great day.


Western Photo Gallery at the Calgary Stampede

Bucked off - © Christopher Martin-0790

The Western Showcase is an art show held annually during the Calgary Stampede.  The showcase is held in two of the halls in the BMO Centre and has artwork from a wide range of mediums on display.  The paintings and sculptures often hold me mesmerized for hours at a time when I’m down there.

Storm over Springbank - © Christopher Martin

The Western Photo Gallery is part of the Showcase and this is my third year participating.  This year I have five images on display and available for sale.  The images selected by the jury are the photographs in this post)

Snowy owl flight - © Christopher Martin-5201

The Western Photo Gallery is a great venue to get your name out and to have the opportunity to sell prints to a large audience.  I’m always excited to be involved.  If you have a chance to visit, there are a lot of great western themed images.

Through the trees - © Christopher Martin-

One image that had particularly strong feedback last year (and also sold well) was of harnesses and other tack used in the Calgary Stampede.  For three years I was covering the Stampede Rodeo for a magazine and had press access.  During the 2011 Stampede, on one of my walks behind the chutes, I noticed this gear hanging off of one of the posts.  It is a symbol of the Stampede that seems to work for people.

Stampede Tack - © Christopher Martin-2863


Joe’s command over a lasso

Joe Bews is a cowboy I was fortunate to photograph last weekend at one of his family’s stations near Longview.  When I asked Joe if he would mind doing a bit of rope work, he kindly obliged and I had the opportunity to try a few different approaches while he roped some imaginary targets lurking in the tall grass.  His skills certainly didn’t need the practice so it was really great of Joe to throw for me and a couple other photographers on a pretty warm afternoon.

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Calgary Stampede – Bull Riding Champion

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The finals of the Calgary Stampede’s Centennial Rodeo were a wet, muddy affair this afternoon.  It was awesome!  The last event was the Bull Riding Final.  Earlier in the day, the rain and mud seemed to work in the bull’s favour and of the ten cowboys that qualified for last day, only three of the four places in the final four were filled.  The other men were bucked off and did not get a shot at the $100,000.  In the final, luck stayed with the bulls and all three riders were thrown.  That meant another round of rides but adrenaline took over and you wouldn’t have known that these guys were each on their third bull of the day!  Shane Proctor, the 2011 Stampede Champion from Mooresville, North Carolina, got started and hung on from the side of the bull for the last two seconds to make full-time and earned a score of 66.50.  With the wet conditions and the ferocity of the animals, no one ruled out that as the winning ride even though the cowboy himself would have liked more.

Next up was Aaron Roy from Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan.  He rode beautifully aboard Risky Remedy and scored an 86.0.  He had great control and it was a ride worthy of a champion.

The final ride, barring a tie, was Chad Besplug riding on Kish This.  When the gate swung open, they came out like a huge whirling dervish.

Mud flying, cow jumping and spinning while the cowboy stayed balanced and rode out the madness.

Chad won the battle and remained firmly in place past the horn.  He did end up getting thrown and went flying in the air a couple of seconds after time.

However, you have to get off a bull somehow and as long as you don’t get hurt doing it then it’s a good dismount.

The crowd knew it was a great ride but it was not clear where his score would land.  Later, when he was being interviewed he said neither him or Aaron Roy were sure who won.  They had a minute to share a couple of words while the judges confirmed the score and shook hands agreeing that either one was deserving.  The score was an 87.0 and Chad Besplug earned the title of Calgary Stampede Bull Riding Champion for 2012.

The three rodeo clowns, who practice their craft of keeping the bull riders safe exceptionally well, were the first to congratulate the winner.

Then, as he crossed the infield, they tackled him into the muddy bog created by the rain that had just ended.  That was almost as much fun as the winning ride itself.

Congratulations Chad – well-earned and it is fantastic to have a Canadian champion on the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede!


Calgary Stampede – Wildcard Saturday at the Rodeo

Saturday was the last chance for competitors in the rodeo events to qualify for finals.  A lot of fun watching these athletes (people and animals) perform.  I’m heading down to the Stampede for the finals now but wanted to share some of the moments from the day of wildcards.

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Sunday’s Finals should be the exclamation mark to end a great rodeo over the past 10 days.  Good luck to all the competitors!


Calgary Stampede – Lindsay Sears tearing up the Ladies Barrel Racing on Day 7

Lindsay Sears is a local barrel racer from Nanton, Alberta.  She won the Barrel Racing event at the 2008 Calgary Stampede as well as being a two-time Barrel Racing World Champion (2008 and 2011).  The crowd went crazy when she raced today and it was well deserved.  She is the best in the sport right now and is rightfully the hometown favourite.

She has been getting faster with each day through the qualifiers at the 100th Calgary Stampede Rodeo this year.  She won the Thursday Group B qualifier, with a time of 17.62 seconds.  She is currently tied for 4th place in Group B with the last qualifier on Friday.  I would expect she will keep getting faster and should earn her spot in the Sunday finals without rolling the dice in the Wildcard Saturday event.  When the finals are run on the 15th, her track record would suggest it might be foolish to bet against her walking away the centennial champion.  I can’t wait for that race – good luck Lindsay!


Calgary Stampede – Bradley Harter in the Saddle Bronc on Day 7 at the Rodeo

Bradley Harter had a good ride at the rodeo on Thursday.    The Loranger, Louisiana native was riding Spring Planting and the pairing earned a score of 81.50.  Which was good for fourth place on the day’s Saddle Bronc event.

I really like this cowboy’s riding style – nice straight lines due to great balance in the saddle and on the stirrups.  I’m hoping he can turn in a score in the high 80’s and qualify for the Finals on Sunday directly.  If not, he’ll be fighting for one of two wildcard spots up for grabs on Saturday.  Good luck Bradley!


Calgary Stampede – Day 5 at the Rodeo

The rodeo down at the Calgary Stampede today was great today.  It was Day One for the Group B competitors and it seemed obvious that they were ready to get started.

Here, Cody Cassidy has just left a perfectly comfortable horse to dive onto the back of a slightly ornery cow.  The Donalda, Alberta cowboy did a great job with this ride pulling the steer down in 4.5 seconds which was good for second place on the day.

Blake Knowles, from Heppner, Oregon, digs boots into the dirt as he drags the steer to a stop.

Clint Cannon had a wild ride on Coal Black with the horse winning today’s round.  It was a good Bareback event matchup and I would like to see Clint turn in some good scores and get into the final.

In the same event, Jake Vold drew Witch Doctor.  The horse lived up to its name and was a tricky ride.  One that the Bareback rider from Ponoka, Alberta was up to the challenge for.  Together, the pairing won the day with an 86.0 ride.

Savannah Reeves, a perennial contender from Cross Plains, Texas who won the 2010 Ladies Barrel Racing event rounds the first barrel during her run.

I can’t wait for the weekend.  The performances have already been great and I am excited about what we will see for the finals.


Calgary Stampede Rodeo – Saddle Bronc Ride

Chet Johnson from Douglas, Wyoming had a spirited ride on Alley Lights on Friday during the first day.

He was bucked off just before time.  With the heavy downpour adding to the atmosphere, I thought the horse and the cowboy put on a great performance.


Calgary Stampede – Rodeo Action

Day one at the Calgary Stampede Rodeo was fantastic.  A number of really great rides on the bulls and the horses throughout the afternoon.  The ropers had a bit of trouble, several cowboys missed with the rope.  But the wrestlers threw themselves at the steers with high enthusiasm.  All the events were exciting, I’m looking forward to the rest of the competition.

Here, Dean Gorsuch from Gering, Nebraska hits the brakes sliding to a stop with the cow on his way to winning the day’s event in a time of 3.8 seconds.

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