Head over heels for rodeo

By Joe Duty | Published Thursday, September 23, 2010

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Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Our roaming photographer journeyed 1,800 miles last week to record moments from the 100th anniversary of the Pendleton Round-Up.

Located on the dry, dusty, eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, the Round-Up maintains many elements of the first rodeo held there. The same painted, worn and wooden chutes grace the football field-like arena. The walls remain bare of advertisements.

The Round Up has suspended classic elements of rodeo in time. From the beat-up turf, our photographer managed to freeze an unnoticed subtlety.

From the stands, only the most intense action is noticed. From hoof level, obscure details become pronounced.

Here, a saddle bronco rider stretches over the top of the chute. Checking straps, saddles and stirrups, the rider ensures he doesn’t miss a detail. Everything must be placed perfect.

Some say the velocity when exiting the chute is similar to that felt by a jet pilot. Hanging on in a violent blur of motion, he can’t miss the little things – neither will a properly prepared photographer. The photo, in glaring subtleties, echoes the entirety of the rodeo.

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