Although we had been to a Quinte Rodeo (part of the RAM RODEO TOUR) in Belleville before, we had never been for an evening performance. The Belleville Agricultural Society was hosting this presentation to treat the crowds to a great time and raise money along the way for the Belleville Hospital. This time Gary, (aka The Festival Nomad) took his friend and trusty "Festival Nomad Correspondent" (& Professional Photographer), Laurence Stephenson with him. I was accompanied by Barbara Stephenson, who is a "horse expert" (lots of riding and Rodeo knowledge), to help me navigate the evening. After a quick diner in a local restaurant, we were just in time to get a good parking spot and great seats. After a day of cool, overcast, damp and dreary weather, it was amazing that the sun came out. The clouds moved away and we were in for a warm evening with a tad of cool breeze. The excitement started with “Flag Carrying Cowgirls” galloping into the ring with their flags flying high. The Belleville Agricultural Society welcomed the crowds (full bleacher seating on both side of the arena), and our national anthem was sung proudly. The “Festival Nomad” and “Festival Nomad Correspondent” left our sides, to capture the “action” from on the ground, ringside, “Up-close and Personal”. I was just as happy to stay safe in my seat, up high in the stadium.
It seemed, for a lot of the crowd, that the bull riding was the highlight of the evening. For one young rider, it was his first bull ride ever! He made it out the gate, but not very far! After the rider was bucked off, two horse riders round up the bull by lassoing it with ropes. As the event progressed, one big bull wasn't too keen on this process! At 1,500 pounds it had its own mind made up. Although the lasso made it around the bulls head, the bull simply lay down. It was also most like it was saying "no way - I’m not going with you"! It was like a little kid has a major temper tantrum! This scene played out for what seemed like a long time. The big bull lay down at least three times. It took the second lasso being hooked around the bulls head and two huge horses pulling it back into the pen. The cowboys won at the end of that round!
Another amazing scene was when a huge black bull tried to escape over the top of the fencing, while in the pen-gated area. I have never seen such a sight. I was glad I was far away from that action. This Quinte “RAM” Rodeo is very professional and the cowboys and girls are very experienced. They took all the precautions while working with these majestic beasts during the entire evening. They respect the animals and care very much about them. The animal’s safety is the priority. Lots of spills and thrills. A trick rider, a young girl, somehow fell off her mount, the crowd went silent, and her long hair covered her face. Slowly she got up, waved to the crowd. She got right back up and took another ride around the ring, her face full of dirt and mud. It seemed her pride was more hurt than she was, but, she took it like a pro. As the evening was coming to a close, you could see large horse trailers leaving the field, some of these professional rodeo folks were off to Connecticut to another rodeo the next day. It is a tough road, not for the faint at heart, but for the dedicated, passionate folks who love the thrill and go provide thrills for many visit!