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August 16, 1973 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-08-16

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Page Six


Thursday, August 16, 1973

The Wild West is alive and

"THE RODEOisaworld
within a world. It's the only pro-
fession left where you are your
own boss."
For most of us the Wild West
is gone. But for a rodeo cowboy,
the spirit of the true American
Individual rides on. He is the
direct descendent of the lone-
some cowboy; the breed of man
who did only what he wanted
and took orders from no one.
The cowboy today does not
question whether the Wild West
was only a myth. His life is a
constant quest to fulfill that ideal
and the rodeo is his testing
the country as a full-time per-
former or merely appears at the
local shows, the rodeo cowboy
rides for more than fun and pro-
fit. There is much more at stake.
From the opening prayer, ones
senses that the cowboy asks for
nothing from anyone, God includ-
ed. "Dear God," the announcer
invokes, with head bowed low,
"in the arena of life, we don't ask
that you lay a bull down easily
or prevent us from breaking
down the barrier.
"But when we make that last
ride in the arena in the sky,
where the grass is lush and the
stirrups hang high, please tell
us that our entry fees are paid."
The cowboys make no effort to
conceal their intense sense 'of
individuality, and indeed wear it
proudly. If thrills are their goal,
the rodeo arena provides plenty.
For eight seconds, a cowboy
must maintain control of a buck-
ing bronco or a rank bull in or-
der to score. But, those eight
seconds, for both the crowd and
the cowboy are an exhilarating
Tom Kennedy, a part-time cow-
boy from Michigan) drew an
"old horse", he said, stich he
"didn't expect to hive much
fire." But, the m(((0an was
caught off gurd and lasted huta
few seconds before he flew off

the saddle, and nearly was I
paled on the arena fence,
A F T E R HE HAD collec
ed himself he dusted off hI
chaps and sat down to take o
his spurs.
"Why do I ride? Riding in
rodeo is a disease. We do it fo
the thrill and excitement of i
dividual competition."
Kennedy, as with other co
boys, sees the rodeo not as a cpn
test betseen the entrants, bit
individual battles between ma
and beast.
"BEFORE I RIDE," he sas
spitting out his chewing tobacco
"I plan out what I'm going to do
I try to find out the horses tat
tern and psyche myself up. I
have to determine to myself that
I will score high."
Jerry Belles, who announcec
Sunday's JayCee rodeo in Salin(
and also rides bulls, echoes Ken
nedy's sentiments. "The chal
lenge is in besting the animal
There's a tremendous feeling o
accomplishment for a man 15
lbs to wrestle down a 2000 lbs
bull. You must compete 'to
points against the other co
boy's but it's more against ,th
Even more fearsome an o
ponent than the wild bronco' i
the two thousand pound bull. Lik
the other riding event, the con
boy must control the animal f
eight seconds to score. The foc
of attention centers on the ma
commanding the beast.
But, there. are other men i
the arena, who accept the dan
ers of their profession. And whit
they have smiles painted on the'
faces, their business is ver
serious. They are the clowns wh
tell jokes when they are n
busy and make themselves ta
gets for the bulls when they art
'TIIE DUTY is to gain th
bulls :ottntion iafter the ri&e
hais tille iiff to preveat 11 Iron
it guing or gying tthe falic
cibe. 'th cliw s ili
itot I fi she ll tied lcetd the
in lieur stalIs.


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