Weekly Photo Challenge – Cheeky

Buckeye, Arizona.

This week, Michelle Weber asks us to find a little irreverence. Her term is “cheeky.” I admit to assuming a definition from sentences in context I have heard over the years. Still, I was glad that Michelle included the dictionary definition which read, “Cheeky (adj): impudent or irreverent, typically in an endearing or amusing way.” You can read the entire challenge post here. Reviewing my gallery, I wasn’t having much luck until I thought about the few animal shots at the zoo. I was about to focus in that direction when I remembered the rodeo I attended last spring. Heading for my Buckeye folder, I found the shots of the National Senior Pro Rodeo and those plucky kids who rode the sheep.

The sport is called Mutton Busting and is open typically to those youngsters between 4 and 6 years of age and weighing less than 60 pounds, though rules may vary with the specific rodeo. They all start out like the girl in the photo above, hanging on to the wool on the sheep’s neck or chest area and using their legs to hold themselves upright for the ride. Rules vary around the country, some given to the winner of the longest ride in seconds, others judged like bronc or bull riding, scored after a successful six-second ride. In Buckeye that day, the prize went to the rider who stayed on the longest.

All participants wear protective head gear and try their best to stay upright. The rides are short, however, and eventually the rider will lose their vertical position and roll around as shown in the photos directly above and below, eventually to let go and drop to the ground.

On this day, there were 20 participants split into two heats. At the conclusion of each heat, the winner of that heat is interviewed. The winner, below, is also invited to say a few words. This young lady, like many rodeo participants was a person of few words. It was fun watching the interviewer try to coax a complete sentence, (something more than ‘Yup’ or ‘Nope,) out of the participants.

John Steiner


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