Monday, June 24, 2013

Mutton Good Time

"Sadie Bezzant is crushed by a sheep in the mutton busting competition during the Strawberry Days Rodeo on June 19, 2013 in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Mutton busting is a form of rodeo for youth that introduces them riding events they're currently too young, small to compete in."


Photography has a lot of cliches and it's probably safe to say cowboy hats are one of them.

Like most other photographers, especially those on the east coast of the United States, I find the hat graphically appealing. So obviously I am drawn to photographing others wearing them.

However, that's not what makes me curious about rodeos. Having briefly lived in Utah, it was the first place I ever witnessed the culture. I was instantly drawn to the sport that perseveres the western way of life and the working cowboy, even though competitive rodeos are practiced worldwide.

I was recently out west and managed to swing by the 2013 Strawberry Days PRCA Rodeo in Pleasant Grove, Utah - which is the longest continually running rodeo in the Beehive State.

In front of more than 7,000 fans, the rodeo happens every night for roughly a week. While I would have loved to document every night, I only had about two hours to roam to make some pictures for fun.

From kids riding sheep in a mutton busting competition, to behind the scenes in the chutes with cowboys preparing to bare-back ride horses and bulls, I was in a state of pure visual joy. My curiosity behind the camera that night helps introduce others to this way of life that I find incredibly fascinating.

This is certainly a sport, culture I would love to explore more. A few hours in the chutes and arena makes me want to spend more time documenting these cowboys, fans and way of life in the near future.


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