• Amber Laviolette

Ride Like There’s No Tomorrow

Updated: Feb 24

Mid-Winter Fair Rodeo

Did you know that riding a 2,000-pound bull for eight full seconds is pretty close to impossible? What about, that riding a bull for eight seconds is harder than riding a horse for the same amount of time? Both of these activities are widely practiced professions for many young people in the south… especially Louisiana! You can find these cowboys performing in rodeo events such as bull riding, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, calf roping, barrel racing, mutton bustin’ and more! In fact, this year, the 66th Annual Mid-Winter Rodeo in Lafayette, Louisiana had it all.

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend this event, after seeing a recommendation from TownPlanner.com’s weekly newsletter for the 66th Annual Mid-Winter Fair Rodeo. A group of local photographers and I decided to visit this rodeo event held at the Blackham Coliseum for the Saturday night showing. Yee-haw y’all!

A couple of photographers from the Lafayette Photographic Society and myself waited in long lines of traffic and anxious attendees at the door who were all waiting to get tickets and begin their rodeo fun! We were so afraid that the event would be sold out. Fortunately, after a few minutes into standing in line, my photography friends and I heard a young girl asking if we were looking for tickets. We immediately took advantage of her offer and explained that even though we came as a group, only two of us needed tickets because we had already planned to spread out around the arena. The stars must have been aligning, because we got two tickets side by side in section Q!

Once we found our seats, we were surprised to find the family we purchased the tickets from was seated next to us! What a fun and refreshing night with such a delightful family! They were frequent rodeo goers, and with their extensive rodeo experience, I had the opportunity to ask many questions about the event.

I learned that when rodeo cowboys strap on their chaps and dust off their boots, they’re not only playing along for our enjoyment, but actually entering a contest where each cowboy will be judged in multiple events, resulting in overall winners based on each contestant’s performance. As I watched the cowboys’ initial preparations before each encounter with the bulls and horses, I soon realized how much trust they need to have in their knowledge of this sport, as well as the trust in the animal they are riding.  In fact, I realized that the horses seem to have an instinctual desire to perform equally as fierce as their rider while competing. I cannot begin to imagine the amount of training it takes to prepare for these events!

Between all of the incredible events throughout the night, the buddy riding event was no doubt my favorite event. To sum it up, one of the cowboys has to ride on their horse across the arena to pick up their buddy (another cowboy) as quickly as possible and then ride back to the other side of the arena. I honestly cannot envision myself standing on a barrel watching a horse run towards me, trying to keep my balance, while having to jump up to reach my partner!  It was fascinating to watch the professionals showcase their talent of this event with so much coordination!

Aside from the traditional rodeo events, the Lafayette Fair and Rodeo offers so much more for its audience. Family entertainment was provided by the legendary Lecile Harris, one of the funniest and most daring rodeo clowns in the PRCA circuit. Lecile started off as a backup bullfighter and has decades of experience entertaining rodeo fans. His athletic prowess around the fiercest animals has earned him the title of Rodeo Clown of the Year on four separate occasions!

What an entertaining night!

Of course, the night wouldn’t be the same if we did not have some of our own precarious adventures added to it.  While attempting leave the dirt parking lot got our vehicle stuck in the mud! Thankfully, two very kind cowboys helped my friend and I push our SUV out of the mud while the rest of our group attempted to accelerate the vehicle out of the mud. Our teamwork effort paid off after several attempts. Like I always say… There’s always an adventure waiting to happen around the corner!

If you would like more information about the rodeo, please visit: http://frontierrodeocompany.com/midwinterrodeo.php

To see more events and sign up for Town Planner’s newsletter please visit: https://www.townplanner.com/

Photos from Larry Arcement Photography:

www.ArcementPhotography.com


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