A team roper testing his skill under some of that famous Montana big sky.
The same cowboy from yesterday’s photo, on a different run. He’s roped his steer, his horse is holding the rope taut and he’s running toward the calf to tie him up. This guy was the most well-dressed competitor there, maybe going for the Marlboro Man lookalike award. It takes a lot of something to wear a white shirt to a rodeo competition. I can’t seem to get out the door wearing one before it’s got some smear of dirt or grime on it somewhere.
A calf getting a little air-time in the competition. Getting roped, then picked up and thrown to the ground and hog-tied can’t be much fun. We kept cringing every time we saw one hit the ground like this one is about to. But they’re actually quite tough and seemed no worse for wear after the ordeal. Once they were untied and left alone they seemed quite happy trotting on down the arena to join their peers and wait for the next round of harassment.
On a drive down the Stillwater River valley last Saturday we came across some guys at the fairgrounds in Wilsall who were continually herding the same calves from one side of the rodeo arena to the other. It turns out they were training them to run a relatively straight line so they would be good performers in a small roping competition they were having the next day. (Who knew you had to have proper training to be a rodeo cow.)
This event is held every year as a memorial for a fellow who died about ten years ago, put on by his friends and family. While the entrants pay a fee so there is purse money for prizes, it isn’t advertised and isn’t meant to draw spectators. But seeing our interest, we were invited to come back on Sunday and watch the competition, which we did along with a handful of relatives of some of the performers. I’ll be posting a number of photos from the event over the next week or so.
There was no gate fee for spectators at the event, no concession stand, no over the top rodeo “phoo-fer-all;” in fact no phoo-fer-all at all. Just an announcer and some help recording times and bunch of guys hanging around in the arena on their horses waiting for their turn to ride and rope.
Railbanking is an agreement between a railroad company and a group or agency which preserves the future rail use of an out-of-service rail line but allows for other development in the interim, typically as a multi-use trail (my favorite of the possibilities). This shot from Billings shows a much more literal form of railbanking.
Connie sitting in the President’s chair in the reproduction of the White House Cabinet Room at the Bill Clinton library in Little Rock. I told her to look presidential, which in this case appears to be some kind of a cross between contemplative and bored. Or maybe it’s disgust.