Whisky Magazine Issue 105
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David de Kergommeaux saddles up and joins the rodeo
They warned me that rodeo horses can be dangerous and unpredictable, but as I watch these gentle creatures saunter around the corral behind the Pendleton arena it's hard to see them as anything but oversized children's ponies.
Inside the arena, a voice on crackly speakers starts to rev up the capacity crowd in anticipation of the saddle bronc riders. Only when the audience seems excited enough will the riders appear. As the cheering reaches fever pitch the announcer breaks into auction cadence, a name flashes on the rasher board, and it's sheer mayhem.
A brute of a horse bursts wildly onto the dirt track flailing both hind legs. Straddling the horse precariously, a rider holds the reins firmly in his left hand while his right desperately grasps thin air above his head. A dozen bucks later a horn sounds. Three cowboys close in on the demon equine as its rider lunges awkwardly for a gentler steed.
This pattern is repeated several times with half the riders falling heavily long before the horn signals the end of their ride. Twenty-five year old rider Tyler Corrington is up next and the crowd senses this is going to be different. He erupts into the ring on a monster bay. The horse bucks insanely, but somehow Corrington manages to stay astride. A blaring horn declares it over and suddenly this seemingly deranged mustang slows to a gentle lope. A veteran, this horse knows the ropes. Here's one wise bucking bronco who understands it's all a show. The Pendleton Round-Up, one of Am...