An Oakdale Rodeo

An Oakdale Rodeo

October I was on my way to Yosemite National Park for some
alone time. About 100 miles east of San Francisco I reached
Oakdale, where I drove past the rodeo grounds and decided to stop
to check out some dates to come back.

It turned out that the Rodeo National State Championships were
in full swing. I was struck by the clash between old and new. I had
stumbled on a world I knew nothing about; my background and theirs
are so different. It’s an activity that’s been around for a long
time which the older generation want to preserve, but the kids are
just like any other children, playing on their smartphones between

At the same time, it was awesome to see these little children
being complete badasses. A 12 year old charging fearlessly towards
a bull; a 10 year old expertly lassoing a calf. It definitely beats
sitting inside on a Sunday afternoon. I spent about eight hours
shooting and felt very much like an outsider. You can tell from the
photos it’s a small, tight-knit community and this event was a big
deal. On top of that, when I was confronted about shooting photos I
found out they get a lot of flack from animal rights institutions.
Some people were definitely wary of me walking around with a

I had an absolute blast and would definitely recommend checking
out a rodeo for yourself. Talk to people, find out their story. But
maybe just don’t bring a camera.


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