90ish days of summer
Leave it to me to find a rodeo in Maryland.
I was born and raised in Texas, where every child grows up knowing how to square-dance, wearing cowboy/-girl boots and learning about the great massacre battle at the Alamo.
For the vast majority of my 20-something years on this earth, I’ve denied the now-very-evident presence of Texas blood in my veins. My favorite joke was (and still is, actually), “What happens when you split Alaska in half? [Pause] Texas becomes the third-biggest state!” I rarely eat beef, a meat not unique to Texas but certainly an integral component of Texan history and pride.
But ever since I moved to the East coast for the summer, I’ve realized more and more just how Southwestern/Texan I am.
(I also have some Midwestern tendencies, but for the purposes of this post, let’s stick to the Southwest. Or Texas, which might as well be its own region and could very well be its own country.)
For example: I want cowgirl boots. I like country music. Talking to some people inexplicably draws a Southern accent from my lips that I previously didn’t know was in existence. When cars on the Beltway are closer together than two car-lengths, all I can do is grit my teeth, ask, “Why are there OTHER CARS on the road?” and yearn for long stretches of straight, empty highway.
And then I started hankering for a rodeo.
Now, I’ve never been to the extravaganza that is the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, even though it’s a mere 20 miles from my Houston doorstep. Rather, my inaugural rodeo was the less impressive but very hearty Fourth of July Maverick Club Rodeo in Cimarron, N.M. For such a small-town rodeo, the annual Independence Day celebration features a billing of 16 events. Granted, they’re all variations of catching animals, riding animals and combinations of the two — but nevertheless, a darn good rodeo. (See my photos of the 2007 rodeo, HERE.)
I had no intentions of seeking out a rodeo this summer in Washington, D.C., but the Fourth of July rolled around and I suddenly missed the Maverick Club Rodeo. So I entered “rodeos in maryland” in Google — and found the J Bar W Ranch.
When Jeff announced we were going to photograph a rodeo in Frederick County, his dad — born and raised in Maryland — retaliated with, “There are rodeos in Maryland?”
Whodathunkit? Not me. But we drove out to Frederick County one Saturday afternoon and, as per one of the ranch proprieter’s directions, found the rodeo photographer and quickly got settled in.
Now, enough chit-chat. Here’re the goods photos.
Then evening fell, and the only light sources were six lights posted around the arena. My Canon 30D doesn’t handle low-light situations very well, especially for fairly fast-moving objects such as angry bulls and cowboys flying through the air. So I pretty much gave up on capturing anything decent after the sun escaped the horizon.
All in all, a fine rodeo. The events weren’t as varied as those at the Maverick Club Rodeo, and New Mexico cowboys can stay on their bulls longer than the cowboys from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Brazil (?!) and other fairly eastern states.
But hey — I can’t complain. The folks at the J Bar W Ranch are among many of the very friendly people I’ve met out East. And I wanted a rodeo in Maryland, and I found a rodeo in Maryland, and I got to shoot a rodeo in Maryland.
So, I am one happy Texan gal on the East coast.
[As always, you can view more photos HERE.]