“Tonight the Red Lodge Rodeo "Home of Champions” begins and I only wish I could ride bareback one more time.
Certainly the toughest sport I ever tried. Each ride, and you have to ride to win, flirts with injury if not death.
But what an exhilarating feeling when that gate opens and all hell busts loose as you find that 8 seconds is much longer than you ever thought it could be.
In the back of the chutes tonight cowboys (some who do not ride, they just rodeo) will start stretching, then slip into leather gloves, light up rosin* to drip onto the gloves for sticking power, the climb up the chute to settle on top of trouble.
Speculators and rodeo stars are cut from the same cloth; we only get paid if we win. You get tossed off and you get nothing but the bumps and bruises and hopes you will hold on for the next ride. Where else do entertainers not get paid for performing?"
- Larry Williams
Victor Niederhoffer, not somebody you’re likely to find much farther west than Central Park, offers a brief glimpse into a new book, The Last Cowboys, by John Branch.
Here’s a little of what he said:
“The world of rodeo is like the world of satellite tennis and squash tournaments and many other sports where it costs almost 50% of the possible prize winnings to endure a season.
But it is unlike any other because you are forced to overcome hundreds of injuries to compete.
It is part Monte Walsh as it describes the current business of cattle raising for middle sized owners as they struggle with a declining opportunities and interference from the government as well as competition from the big operators.”