Luck of the draw

By Joe Duty | Published Thursday, September 22, 2011

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Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“You make your own luck, Gig. You know what makes a good loser? Practice.”
– Ernest Hemingway

Muscles clinched tight, neck straining, veins bulging twilight purple as a bulldogger wrenches writhing steer into grass and dust.

The stiff, cream-colored fur of the animal stands on end as the steer wrestler flips it hide over horn. A black hoof drives into the cowboy’s number like a tack. The battle of man versus nature rages in a matter of 7.6 seconds.

Our roaming photographer shot this image of steer wrestler Cole Edge of Durant, Okla., during last week’s Pendleton Round-Up. It was the 101st installment of the Oregon rodeo.

The rodeo cowboy not only relies on skill and timing, but also on the element of luck. Animals are as random as man. What type of personality will be drawn? Will it be a sluggish steer that doesn’t care much about getting away from the human tackler? Or will the roughest, fastest and strongest stud of the pasture shoot from the gate?

The same roll of the dice awaits a photographer’s eye. Will the lens be trained on the right place at the right time to capture the right moment?

But just as Hemingway told his son Gregory, we make our own luck. We’re all going to be dealt a lucky hand now and then. But it’s up to us to recognize it.

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