6.26.2010

Yee Haw

video

I saw Schlifke at a party, and she told me the Attica Rodeo holds qualifier events every Friday during the summer. She said it's a great place to take photographs, and cheap, so I decided to give it a try. I fired up the GPS and hit the road. The route was a lot more rural than I'm used to, and the lush green fields were beautiful in the setting sunlight. If it wasn't for my destination (or rural traffic, which always seems to want to go faster than I do) I'd have dawdled and taken some photos there. Eventually I passed Darien Lake amusement park, and the rodeo was a couple of miles further on, just before the infamous prison. I don't know what, if anything, I was expecting, but this wasn't it. The grounds were small and not really set up to accommodate visitors. There was a ring surrounded by bleachers, a small refreshment stand, restrooms, and a few ticket booths. Beyond that was a field where the riders were prepping the horses. I walked around for a bit then went and sat in the bleachers. The riders were just starting to enter the ring to warm up the horses, while the ring announcer greeted people he knew over the PA. Finally, the event started. Here's how it worked: there were 27 cattle in the ring, 3 each numbered 1 to 9. A team of three riders on horseback would enter the ring. The announcer would call out a number, and the riders would have to herd the 3 cattle with that number into a pen at the far end of the ring. It was kind of amazing to see, because the riders had to work as a team to seperate the right cattle from the herd, and then drive them into the pen. One team did this in 24 seconds. It was also a little bit sad, because the cattle were clearly not enjoying this as much as the riders or even the horses. It was striking to see the riders dote on their horses but give absolutely no regard to the cattle. The sun set, the lights came up, and team after team herded the cattle into the pen. With my hour+ drive back to the city to consider, I left before the event was over, and laughed at how easy it was to find my little red Hyundai hatchback in a sea of pickup trucks and SUVs.

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