An All-American Rodeo Experience in The Dalles, Oregon

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This was my first time at an American rodeo or any kind of rodeo. It was quite an experience. We visited The Dalles, Oregon this summer and and we found out that the big annual rodeo was happening that night so we decided to go.  It was a spontaneous decision, we didn’t know much about it but we decided to immerse in the culture a bit instead of have dinner at a nice restaurant.

The event was called The Fort Dalles Days Pro Rodeo.

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Since we decided to go last- minute, I wasn’t really dressed for the event. I wore my nice shirt, pants and a scarf when I really should have worn boots, short shorts and a cowboy hat. It was very sunny so I ended up buying a cowboy hat to blend in a bit more and to protect my dark hair from the sun which absorbs a lot of heat.

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A rodeo is a sporting event that consists of events that involve horses and other livestock, designed to test the skill and speed of the human cowboy and cowgirl athletes who participate. American style professional rodeos generally comprise the following events: tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, bull riding and barrel racing.

The events are divided into two basic categories: the rough stock events and the timed events. Depending on sanctioning organization and region, other events such as breakaway roping, goat tying, or pole bending may also be a part of some rodeos.

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I think we paid about $12 each for a ticket in the C section which ended up being a pretty good section because the sun wasn’t hitting straight at us.

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Starving I was and happy I was to find a mexican food stand with aguas frescas.

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Some of the girls looked like they were at a horse beauty pageant.

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A few army soldiers  walked to the middle of the rodeo arena for a star spangled banner moment.

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And then it begun!

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The rodeo started with the Bronc riding event.

Either bareback bronc or saddle bronc competition, is a rodeo event that involves a rodeo participant riding on a horse (sometimes called a bronc or bronco), that attempts to throw or buck off the rider. Originally based on the necessary horse breaking skills of a working cowboy, the event is now a highly stylized competition that utilizes horses that often are specially bred for strength, agility, and bucking ability. (1)

It hurt my back just from watching.

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Whoever could stay on the horse longer would be the winner.

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And then there was the rodeo clown, something I had never heard of before.

“Originally, the rodeo clown was a single job combining “bullfighting” – the protection of riders thrown from the bull, as well as being an individual who provided comic relief. Today in the USA, the job is split into two separate ones, hiring bullfighters who protect the riders from the bull, and entertainers, a barrelman and a clown, who provides comic humor.” (source)

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Yeehaw!

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Rodeo girls assist during the tie-down roping event.

Another event we witnessed was Calf roping, also known as tie-down roping which consists of a calf and a rider mounted on a horse. The goal of this timed event is for the rider to catch the calf by throwing a loop of rope from a lariat around its neck, dismount from the horse, run to the calf, and restrain it by tying three legs together, in as short a time as possible.

The girls were there to direct the baby cattle with their horses to the exit.

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Stubborn donkeys being pulled to the arena for the donkey race.

And then there was the donkey derby race which provided great laughs across the audience. You can watch the mess of a race it was on the video below.

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Even though there were some fun parts from the whole experience, overall, I would not choose to go to another rodeo because some of the competitions were very aggressive and I didn’t love the way animals were handled, especially the baby cattle.

There was even an injured man who was ran over by a horse and the baby cattle who seemed to have hurt itself a bit. This incident was our cue to leave.

Have you ever been to any kind of rodeo?
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