Posts tagged “cowboy

An evening at the Tsuu T’ina Rodeo

Under mild protest my son and I watched the last half of the evening set of the Tsuu T’ina’s 43rd annual rodeo last night.  Kian found a few boys to play kendama with so that bought me a little time to photograph.  The sun dropped into some wildfire smoke that laid above the horizon which made for dramatic backlighting.  I will share more soon but I’m packing my gear and heading over for Sunday’s short go this afternoon.  Here a cowboy lifts the calf into position to fix three of the legs with a half hitch knot to complete his run in the tie-down roping event.


Tsuu T’ina Nation Tour Rodeo Finals

This weekend was the 41st annual Tsuu T’ina Nation’s Rodeo which draws First Nation people born to the saddle from all over North America.  The rodeo is held at the Redwood Meadows Arena which just across Highway 22 from my home.  This is one of my favourite rodeos and it was great to be able to be on the rails for the last day.

High Flying Bull Rider - © Christopher Martin-0339

It was an afternoon that started with sun which gave way to heavy, heavy rain and ended with high clouds towards the end of the night.  Dynamic photographic opportunities came with the changing weather which was great for me.  Weather doesn’t make too much difference for the people or for the animals – they are all ready to go no matter what is going on above.  I have a stack of photographs to look at, and will share more soon, but wanted to get out this first image of one of the high-flying bull riders from a great afternoon in the Bragg Creek area.


Tsuu T’ina Rodeo – Sunday Favourites

Faith Holyan Roping at the Tsuu T'ina Rodeo - 2014 © Christopher Martin

The Tsuu T’ina Nation’s Indian Rodeo is a grand event, as I have written about and shared photographs from for the past few years.  This year I was able to watch most of the Sunday Finals and the performances met all expectations.  Last week, I shared a few photos from the Saddle Bronc final.  Here are a few favourites from the other events on July 27th.

Rodeo airborne - 2014 © Christopher Martin

The race is on - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Backbone slide - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Stand up - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Roping a runaway - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Round the barrel - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Bull flight - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Rodeo clowns at work - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Showdown: Bull versus Cowboy - 2014 © Christopher Martin

These last two images are from Marlon Williams’s ride on Big Carl.  Marlon had a great ride and only came off the back after he’d logged the full 8 seconds and the bell had been rung.  This earned him the championship for the Bull Riding event which was the last one on the evening.

Bull and cowboy win - 2014 © Christopher Martin


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 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


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.


Ranchers in the High Country

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The Bews are a ranching family and the youngest generation is following that well-worn path.  When I was photographing them at the ranch Mady and Katie showed their ease in the saddle and proved to be very good sports while the shutter clicked away.

Katie was learning to trot and she seemed to master it over the course of a few crosses of the overgrown field during the morning.  Mady practiced her roping which made for some great photographic opportunities.

While the girls rode, their grandmother Rosemary, grandfather Tom and his brother Joe alternated between time in front of the camera, tending to their horses and chatting.  Very good people with lot’s of room in their hearts for their family, their animals and their land.  It was a pleasure to spend some time with them.

Joe Bews in the morning leading his horse up with his partner by his side and later running through the dry creek bed.

Tom taking a break from the saddle

The last image I took up at the ranch was of the Bews family as they headed back for the trail back down to their farms.  A warm thank you to them for coming out on a cold morning which became a hot afternoon.  And, thanks to Julian Ferreira and his team at The Camera Store for arranging for a great day in the High Country on the edge of Kananaskis.

In fact, Julian stood in as a cowboy model in the cook shack and played the role exceptionally well.


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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A Kananaskis Cowboy

(As always, please click on any image to view a higher resolution version)

I was at a ranch for a photography workshop put on by The Camera Store on the weekend.  The workshop was with William Albert Allard and it proved to be n educational and very enjoyable weekend.  On Saturday the group went to Kananaskis where access had been granted to shoot on a long-standing ranch back in the High Country.  The venue was full of character and the cowboys, lady and cowgirls that came up to model for us had the same in ample supply.  I will post some more images from the day soon but wanted to start with a concept image that I worked on in post a bit.  During the Sunday critiques, one of the participants had shown a few sepia toned images and that got some ideas rolling around in my head.  I had completed my work keeping most of the portraits in straight colour.  With this photograph of Tom, one of two lifelong ranching brothers that own the ranch and rode up for the day, I wanted to make a desaturated and almost metallic look to this tight portrait.  I used Lightroom’s Develop suite for the post-processing and leaned heavily on dropping saturation and increasing the clarity to realize the look.  For reference, here is one of Tom as he really looked in the warm light bouncing off of the exposed wood beams inside the barn.


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 – 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 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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Cochrane Lion’s Labour Day Rodeo

I was down at the rodeo with my kids and my parents for a couple of hours yesterday.  Here are a few from the events that I pulled off between runs to the fair ground and the snack tent.  After a rainout the night before, Saturday was beautiful.  A great small town rodeo – definitely part of what summer in Alberta is.

 

 


A Hard Ride: one cowboy’s fight at the Calgary Stampede

This is a visual story detailing one cowboy’s 8 second battle with a horse named Buck Wheat on Thursday afternoon at the Calgary Stampede.

The cowboy’s name is Matt Lait and he hails from just north of Calgary in Balzac, Alberta.  He rode the beast for full time and scored in the middle of the pack on the day.  However, the expressions by both the man and the horse throughout the ride made for an entertaining series.  Matt’s face displays how demanding this event is on concentration and how punishing it is on the human body.  Click on each to see a frozen moment within that 8 second ride.


The Calgary Stampede is almost here!

With the regular excitement leading up to Stampede amplified by the attendance of the young royals during their honeymoon tour across Canada, Calgary is in great spirits right now.  The Stampede Parade this morning kicks off the crazy ten day party.  Rick Hansen is the Parade Marshal which is an inspiring choice.  Canada’s Man In Motion will no doubt add more fuel to the fire in the city.

As the Stampede gets closer, more people start to don their Western attire and businesses deck their store fronts (and walls, alleys, staff, windows, etc.) with fanciful cowboy characters, horses and chuckwagons (mostly artwork but there are living embodiments if you go to the right bar or corporate lobby).  One of my favourite decorations is this cowboy that Canadian Pacific Railway perches on top of their black locomotive that is set along 9th Avenue in front of their offices in the Gulf Canada Square building on 4th street.

This year I have a few framed prints showcased at the Western Photo Gallery which is one of the five areas of the Western Art Show at the Stampede.  I was there for an opening party on Wednesday night and the artwork on display was incredible.  Some of the paintings and sculptures are truly incredible.  If you visit the Western Showcase in Halls D and E in the BMO Centre at the Stampede Park you will have a great opportunity to see the work of some incredible artists – and a couple of nice photographs too!

I have been accredited to photograph the rodeo and the chuckwagon races for the second time this year.  Thank you to Dwayne Zaba and Roy Anstey at Bragg About the Creek magazine for your sponsorship.  I can’t wait to get on the rail to watch these events – I didn’t grow up competing but had a number of cousins who did so I appreciate the level that both the animals and the people perform at during the Stampede.  I’m sure I will be posting a few images over the next couple of weeks.

If you are in Calgary and make it to the Stampede this year, I hope you have a great time.  If you aren’t, try to visit sometime down the road, I don’t argue with their slogan, “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”.