This has been Rodeo Week here in our town. The largest three-day-rodeo is this weekend. This is our 90th rodeo and some of the biggest names show up to ride and perform for us. Joe Baumgartner, Bullfighter, makes his home here and performs every year. The history of the rodeo bullfighters is a long and distinguished one.

When they started introducing the aggressive Brahman bulls and crossbreds, the job became much more than clowning and thus the term bullfighter began to be used. The clowns enter the arena on foot, usually in teams of two or three. Sometimes they have a barrel man, who uses a large padded barrel he can jump in and out of easily. They work to distract the bull and thus protect the riders and each other. If a rider is injured, their task becomes even more important as they put themselves between the bull and the rider. When a rider has been hung up on the bull, they then face the extremely dangerous task of freeing the rider, with one going to the head and the other trying to release the rider’s hand from the rigging. Many a good cowboy has been rescued by a good bullfighter!

This is a picture of Joe Baumgartner and Ryan Heisler distracting the bull.

We don’t make it to the Rodeo anymore and I am sorry we can’t as it has been a long tradition. We have a great parade and the Budweiser Clydesdales are to be here this year, too. The whole town turns out and supports all the events going on this week: Cowboy Poetry, Kid’s Stick Horse Competition, the big Rodeo Dance on Saturday night and even street dances.

Sure brings back memories of the “old days” for sure. What a wonderful celebration!

Here’s some more good old cowboy wisdom: If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.

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