Even though it’s only been a couple weeks since my last visit to rodeos, I add one more for your edification, Taylor’s 65th Annual Rodeo, held July 18 and 19 at the Williamson County Events Center in my little town, Taylor, Texas. The Taylor Rodeo Association puts on a really good show. As mentioned before, covering rodeo is a little bit about the action in the arena, but it’s so much more. Even though I’ve never been a participant, it’s a sport I’ve grown up watching, at least while we were still in Texas. In Texarkana, we had (and still have) the Four States Fair and Rodeo, held each September for many years. This year will be the 70th for my hometown’s event.
For those who might not think of rodeo as a real sport, you’ve never witnessed the physical toll these events have on the participants. At Taylor’s rodeo last night, for instance, I was talking with a gentleman and his son, 25, about it. “I retired four years ago,” said the 25-year-old, speaking of his time as a bull rider. It’s not just the events, either. Consider the travel participants undertake to get from one venue to another, not always realizing much payoff for their efforts. The young man in the opening photo, Kobyn Williams, is a 25-year-old saddle bronc rider from DeBerry, Texas, a good 5 hour’s drive from Taylor. But there he was, taking advantage of the rodeo clown’s trailer for a gear change before making his way back into the fray. And there’s the element of family when I see Spence Callihan, a team roper from Willis, Texas, as he helps his 2-year-old niece, Charli Callihan, learn a bit about roping. It’s a slice of life I’ll continue to take in as long as I can.