RoughStock Rodeo Photographs
WHISKEY BENT ROUGHSTOCK FUTURITY
Whisky Bent Roughstock Futurity
Hard bucking horses and rank bulls!
- Images appear at the end of the text -
One of Tony Bynum's greatest passions is photographing rodeo events. Tony has been photographing rodeos for as long as he’s been in the photography business. Photographing rodeos was a natural fit after his own short stint in the rodeo area during college. He was never a Roy Cooper but roping was a fun pastime.
This is a sample of rodeo photographs shot during a recent roughstock futurity event in Montana. The Whiskey Bent Roughstock Futurity was held in early September in the small town of Fort Benton, MT best known for its early history during the paddle wheel days. It’s situated about 35 miles north of Great Falls, Montana on the banks of the Missouri River. Today, Fort Benton is probably best known as the launch point for recreation and hunting trips down the Missouri River into the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument and in particular the White Cliffs section. It is said that the White Cliffs looks today as close to what Lewis and Clark saw on their epic journey west as any location along the historical path. We can agree as we float this section of the river every year, sometime more than once, and recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a fantastic adventure!
The Whiskey Bent Roughstock Futurity consists of three roughstock events, saddle bronc, bareback, and bull riding. Some argue these three events are the most exciting events in rodeo (I have to agree even though I was a calf roper), although we know there’s a lot of opinions about this and it’s subject that could be bantered around for hours.
Tony likes to publish the best images consisting of the cowboys and stock in their best form. This however is always at the whim of the rider and the stock. At this first annual event, while the action was wild and at times very fast paced, particularly when the Pick-up men were working the stock out of the arena after the ride, there were few full 8 second rides. We will chalk this up to the quality of the stock - rank would a good word.
Rodeo wreck photographs are always most enjoyed by the casual and sometimes the seasoned rodeo veteran, but often it’s the shots of the rider and stock in their perfect (or as close to) form as possible that get the most praise from the contestants. Perfect is seldom if ever achieved in rodeo. Humans and roughstock seldom make the “perfect” mark on the judges score sheet.
The stock at this event was pretty good, everything bucked and for the most part, could take the cowboy to the pay window. Even though there were fewer complete 8 second rides than hoped for, the action was always good. Particularly impressive was the quality of the bulls. They bucked hard!
Events like this are not simple to produce. While the men who crawl on the broncs and bulls get all the fanfair, the men and women behind the shoots, in the office, and serving up the chow are want make it all possible. And what rodeo event would be complete without the heroes of the area, the bullfighters and pickup men. Huge thanks to all the help behind the scenes and in the area that make rodeo’s such a delight to watch. Last but not least, the stock contractors. without their love and passion for the animals, there would be no rodeo!
The Whiskey Bent Roughstock Futurity is one that Tony will attend again next year. It was a great rodeo. Lots of action, and a great, friendly crowd. It was impressive to see so many youngsters and their families turn out. It felt much like a huge family reunion.