Busting Muttons

We were in Ingomar all yesterday afternoon, and we’ll be there this afternoon too.  The occasion?  The third annual Ingomar Ranch Rodeo, presented by our coworker Nate with the help of the Ingomar Rodeo Club.

Beau and I aren’t entered in or especially helpful with this ranch rodeo, so we’ve been spending our time just taking in the show and visiting.  I, of course, have been wielding my camera looking for interesting angles:



This here below, fellers, is the cook shack at the Ingomar Arena.  I love how it’s covered with the brands of local folks who’ve contributed to the effort to keep the place up and running:



There are lots of good folks and good horses in Ingomar right now.  (The town’s population has exploded a hundred-fold for this Labor Day Weekend event!)  It’s hard to pick favorites, but this big drafty brown sure caught my eye (the horse, not the cowboy):



As did Judge Casey Mott, looking tremendously professional in his tie, on an intelligent-looking roan:



And sweet Mesa Svedberg.  So young.  Such a good horse hand already:



Speaking of cowgirls, how about Star?  I didn’t realize until I was home, editing photographs, that she was riding with only a war bridle on her horse yesterday:



Joe Watson and his wife, Kate, just came to work with us at the PV, and we sure are glad to have them.  This is Joe on ol’ Dirty Sally, who is probably even more famous than Joe is:



And here’s Juan…


… and one of his teammates…


… searching in vain for their third cow in the team penning.  Turns out there were only two cows with their designated brand in the arena!  (Their team got a re-run because of this slip-up.  These are the kinds of things that happen when you’re a ranch rodeo producer.  You just have to grin and bear it and try to avoid the same thing next year, huh, Nate?)


Aw, Sterling Grosskopf.  We’ve known him since he was just a little guy.  (He’s a sophomore in high school now and pretty much a pro roper.)  One of my favorite stories on Sterling:  he was running around with a bunch of kids at a roping and was plumb red-cheeked and sweaty.  I hadn’t seen him for several months, so when he ran by I flagged him down.  “Wow,” I told him, “you look hot.”

And he, probably age 8 or 9 at the time, said… “Thanks!”



Now this character, below, really cracks me up.  I don’t know Richard very well, but he interests me because he looks less like a real person and more like a life-size cardboard cutout of a 1970s cowboy.  I got brave enough to ask him if I could take his picture yesterday and that’s when I discovered he truly likes to pose:



Oh, so many good folks.  How about our favorite, bestest neighbors, Howard and Johnna Newman?  (I told them they looked like a couple of lovebirds perched up there in the crow’s nest.)



Then there’s Pete.  Pete is a professional photographer from New York who somehow fell in love with Ingomar and the Crow Reservation to the south of us years ago.  Many of his photos already hang in the Jersey Lilly here, and he still comes to town occasionally to visit old friends and see what all he can capture with his camera.  When he caught me taking this photo of him, he came over and we introduced ourselves.  He gave me a few tips on photography, enough to remind me of how little I know!  His main goal was to get me to start using the viewfinder of my camera instead of the digital screen.  I can’t get used to it yet.  Pete told me he owns eight cameras:



Professional photographer or not, I had to be ready to somehow record for all eternity the mutton busting which took place after the ranch rodeo, as it was our 5-year-old son Asher’s first time out of the chute.  I don’t have a photo of his ride, as I videoed the ride instead.  But I do have a picture of his first payout:



Then he talked someone into letting him ride a second sheep.  So I got a photo of the second ride, or rather, a photo of a pick-up man assisting Asher with his dismount.  Thank goodness for belts:



Kids were clamoring all over the chutes waiting for their turns to ride the sheep.  Turns out mutton busting is a big deal for the 5- and 6-year-old set!  Who knew?  Now I know, because I believe that as of yesterday I am a certified, authentic, papered and stamped Mutton Busting Mama.



That’s all right.  There seem to be lots of opportunities for good photos when one’s hanging out near the mutton busting chutes.  Is anyone else amazed by how high sheep can jump?




It was sure dusty in the southeast corner of the arena yesterday.  Look how that car, parked there for only a few hours, was soon coated in dust:



Okay, just two more photos to go, and these of our little Emi.  She picked out her own outfit yesterday and she got sooooooo much attention because of it.  (Boots at the Jersey Lilly gave her that little white fedora — it was in the lost and found box there — and yesterday she dug it out of her closet and topped her outfit with it.  She was proud to wear it all day long.)



We know, little cowboy, we know.  She’s adorable.  And she knows it too:


© Tami Blake

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