Friday, May 20, 2016

Chilcotin Holidays

Rodeo – Bull Riding

I had the chance to go to a real traditional rodeo !

It was a little bit weird at first to get out of the ranch, away from a complete natural surrounding back to “civilization”, shops, crowd,... but going to the rodeo was a unique experience ! We arrived at the rodeo just before it began. It was organized in a pasture along the road that had been converted into a parking lot next to the permanent rodeo grounds. We found some places at the fence, just in front of the bulls boxes, just in the right place to see everything. At one moment there was even a steer running between the arena fence and the public fence, so close that we could almost touch it ! I immediately felt the particular atmosphere that I guess is typical of every real traditional rodeo, cowboys everywhere, small kids saddling their horses in a few minutes, quicker than I will ever do, families and communities gathered to encourage their “champion”... I never went to such event and it was so special !

Then the show began ! That was really impressive to watch : 5 to 6 guys activating and getting the bull chute ready, teenagers and young men preparing to jump on the bull and hold on to it as long as possible, until the bell rang; one man standing in front of the box, ready to open the gate when the next cowboy would be on the bull, jumping aside while pulling the rope that opened the box, then this massive bull jumping out, a mass of muscles excited and kicking out in every direction and young boys (and even one young lady !) holding on to it ! It is such a different culture, we do not have such event in Belgium and I was glad that I could experience that !

We saw a variety of bull riding, some bulls were really excited (one of the bull fell on the young guy riding it when the gate opened and another one pursued the cowboy that just fell off, trying to impale him with its horns ! But no one was hurt !) and others were kind of “quiet” and some men had to jump around them, clapping in their hand to excite them a little bit more. I was impressed by some riders that managed to stay on the bull a few seconds till the bell rang and then just jumped off to the ground. You could think that when they have to hold long enough it is finished, they are safe... but getting voluntarily off the bull is not that much easier ! One of the young cowboy almost fell on the fence ! And they are all so prepared, when they touch the ground either they run really fast or they stay face down on the ground waiting the signal to get up and escape the bull horns!

One part that is also worth telling is what happens after the cowboy is off the bull. The bull needs to be directed out of the arena. Some really skilled riders and horses came in and chased the bull. I was amazed to observe their technique, they know exactly what to do, where to turn and block the bull with their horse, when to catch it with a lasso around the horns... That part was for me - a complete novice - as impressive as the first part.

Going to the rodeo and watching the bull riding competition was great ! It is another unique experience that I will bring back home and never forget !

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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