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A spur-of-the-moment decision (no pun intended) mid-last week, and a desire to shoot something different, led my good friend and fellow photographer Konrad Bazan and I to locate a Rodeo.

I can’t remember the last time that I was at a rodeo. I have vague recollections of one from my childhood; of the air, thick with dust and the smells of the outback, the boots, hats, and checked shirts. I vaguely remember the rugged bush characters with weathered, friendly faces, and the bull riders with nerves of steel…

Seeing that there was a Rodeo in the Northern New South Wales town of Alstonville on Saturday, Konrad tracked down the National Rodeo Association, asking for permission to bring in some professional camera gear. The response that we received was very welcoming, and they encouraged us to come along with free entry on the door.

The 2 hour drive south was full of trepidation for the weather as the rain was coming down in sheets and slowed the highway traffic to a crawl. A quick check of the radar on our phones (don’t you just love technology?!) reassured us that further south was dry and that the rodeo wouldn’t be cancelled.

Sure enough, we arrived in the early afternoon to find Alstonville dry and the rodeo in full swing. We staked out a vantage point conveniently located near the bar with good views of the arena and settled in to capture the action.

The main bull ride event was very intense; a one stage an angry bull took exception to our clickity-click-clicking cameras and charged straight for us! At the last second he swung his rump around and gave the fence in front of us a good whack, sending dirt all over us, and pushing our pulse rates soaring. We both had a thoroughly enjoyable time, and left the day with a strong desire to do it again sometime soon. I extend a very big THANK YOU to the National Rodeo Association for allowing us to capture this fantastic event and hopefully we’ll come along to another very soon.

A few of my favourite shots from the day are shown below, and larger versions of all images (without watermarks) are available on request.

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