We have gone full country what can I say.
Its quite a task setting up for this and I had to use the disk harrow on the arena before they brought in the bucking chutes and corrals then I went and got one of the Fire Dept tankers and wet down the place to reduce dust, filled the tanker back up from the water tower, then we started receiving the bulls and a few sheep for the younger kids (under 8) to ride. Here you can see the Cowboys sorting out their tack prior to the rodeo beginning.
This is a Championship Youth Bull Riding event but there was also an open bull riding category for any age and it was tempting.
Lots of people don't realise that Missouri has a long history with cattle and that there is lots of "Cowboyin" going on, particularly in the Ozarks. Its not uncommon to find horses hitched up in front of stores or to see real working Cowboys at the local cafe. These Cowboys (and one young Cowgirl) were all riders.
The three kids on the right here went "Mutton Busting" and rode sheep. The three on the left were a little older and rode calves; and if you think that was easy, one of the calves was meaner than any of the bigger bulls and really gave the young rider a working over.
And then the older riders were up through I would say early 20s. I love rodeos and bull riding in particular but its a brutal sport and they take a pounding. Most of these young men had limps or showed some type of injury. I rode a bull when I was a young Marine and barely got out of the chute before I was slammed into the ground. I was all full of young bravado and of course couldn't lose face in front of my friends but I remember wishing I could be anywhere else when I was in the chute on that bull that was trying to kill me and you have to give these guys a lot of credit. They do it all the time and it takes a lot of guts.
It was hard to get good pictures of the actual riding but this was a young man riding a sheep.
Most of the riders wore helmets and flak jackets but not all and several of the riders got slammed pretty good and it was great. I was right there hanging on the corral the whole night and by the end of the night I was covered in dust, bull snot and had boots full of cow manure...it was glorious.
Unfortunately my camera picked up all the dust particles flying around because of the flash but the bull fighters (they aren't called clowns anymore; oh no they aren't) really did a great job.
We had several full rides and the quality of the riding was very good. Several of the bulls had been on the PBR tour and some were just down right rank. One big Brahma was so bad it took 15 minutes to get him back in his pen and he repeatedly slammed into the corral trying to get out and into the audience and people were scrambling, drinks were flying and it was quite a show.
These three young men have qualified for the PBR finals in Texas; its a big accomplishment and they are Ozarks tough.
This is the America that still exists and the America we choose to live in.