The Accidental Cowgirl
64th Hulett Rodeo took place in June at the rodeo grounds –— a stone’s throw from Main Street. Having never attended a rodeo, I was looking forward to seeing some real cowboys in action. What could be more exciting than a cowboy in full regalia trying to stay on a horse that wants nothing to so with him?
We arrived under sunny skies and I was immediately enthralled with not just the sights, but the sounds. Being from the East Coast, I am used to there being a very safe distance and ample security between spectator and participant. Here, I propped a cowboy boot on the rail and had a better-than-front-row seat for the action. And action there was!
Yes, cowboys holding on for 8 seconds is something to see; but I had no idea how massive, mean and LOUD the horses and bulls (and sheep!) would be. The snarling, coughing, hissing and complaining beasts of burden kicking up dirt, ramming into the rails and falling and flailing turned each individual’s competition into a frenzy. I wasn’t just watching a show, I was experiencing an out-West event as old as the land itself. And while I held my breath when my own little boys tried to pull the ribbon from the sheep’s tail, I couldn’t help but smile when they, too, kicked some dirt on dear old mom as they ran by in hot pursuit of their prize. Where else in the world, I wondered, would we rather be doing this on a Saturday afternoon?
dozens of different rodeos that take place in the summer throughout the Black Hills and all of Wyoming. Many are bigger and bolder than the Hulett Rodeo, but this event will always hold a special place in my heart. How could it not? I not only got close enough to capture some great shots, I got to close enough to the West to forget that I was from the East.
Helen is a professional writer living in Hulett, Wyoming. When not trying to remember to ask for a sack instead of a "bag" when buying pop (not "soda!"), she and her family are out exploring the Black Hills and busy making the West, home. For more information, visit www.HelenCoronato.com.