Thursday, January 21, 2010

National Western Stock Show

The national Western Stock Show is a unique event that Denver hosts every year.  It shows a side of Denver that many people don't know about.  The event is, as I understand it, the super bowl for farm kids that raise livestock in FFA (Future Farmers of America), an auction and trading center for all things livestock (even very expensive sperm!!), a herding and flyball dog competition, and a world class rodeo.  I'm sure it is way more than that, but I am not very well versed in these types of things!!

So this Tuesday I went to try and capture the essence of the show with my camera.  The following is my account of the show:

FOOD: there is lots of it, and most of it will either satisfy your gluttonous sweet tooth or your macho side.

The first item is certainly only found in America.

Next we have a few manly meals:

LIVESTOCK: these are some of my favorites, but it is not a good representation of the diversity of animals there.  It is strange to see all the cattle completely clean.  They are being groomed constantly since they will either be judged or sold at auction.

This was my favorite cow, just bathed, wearing the bling and the hair all done up!

RODEO: Last but not least, here are some pictures from the rodeo.  The rodeo was incredibly entertaining and exciting!  What these guys (and girls) can do with ropes, while on a horse, is UNBELIEVABLE.  Some people don't like rodeo, and after watching this, I can see why.  I understand the arguments on both sides, and don't have a strong feeling for or against rodeo but I have to say there were a few times when I felt bad for the calves being tied up and/or drug around.  I also understand that I may have felt worse about it than the calf, who knows.  And then of course, the horses got to kick ass and give the cowboys a taste of their own medicine during the bareback riding competition.  So I guess in the animals vs humans competition, it kind of evened out.

This is my favorite rodeo pic and favorite of the day.  This is the part that made me feel bad for the calf, mentioned above.  It almost looks like the cowboy does too (I hope he doesn't read this).

The announcer was hilarious and quoted The Big Lebowski after one of the horses bucked a guy off, he said "This aggression will not stand...  man".  The horse won this one:

Rodeo is definitely a family affair. Here is a father and daughter enjoying the show:

This was a little different kind of photography than I normally do and I really enjoyed getting out and trying something different.  The stock show is a fun way to spend a day in Denver during January, there is a lot for kids to do and see as well as adults.  There is one more weekend left if you want to go check it out!

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  1. Yes sir. I grew up around rodeo. You caught the hearty, rough and gentle that make these cowboys.

  2. Great post, Ben - it was just like being at the stock show. I can almost smell the cow dung and fried cheese. You should do more long photo essays like this...

  3. I wish there were some of goats. I love goats. Good stuff though for sure. You've got a good eye.

  4. Thanks all. Unfortunately, the goats had already left the building, according to the info desk.