“Outside!” Came the call from inside the chute.
Breathing in the adrenaline, she held her breath. Waiting for the gateman to make his move to pull the chute gate open. The photographs were worth the risks. She was now truly in the danger zone.
Acceptance started with leaning on a fence rail next to the arena out-gate. Taking pictures from a so-called safe vantage point; and not from where you maybe shouldn’t be - in the arena. Slipping into the arena, you might get the look from someone that said, “You know better.” No words, just that look that had you taking steps back towards the gate. But, young and thinking you’re infallible, means taking the risk every time you thought you could get away with it.
I participated in rodeos, I was comfortable in the arena, and with the people who were part of that environment. It also gave me an opportunity to go to places that some were not welcome - in the arena. I knew the rules and, more importantly, the etiquette of the rodeo arena. When it was best for me to stick to the fence line or when it was okay to step out and get some action shots. I often wonder if my photography career would have gone in a different direction if the camera I used back then had been a few steps up from an old-fashioned Kodak Instamatic.
I still love the sport of rodeo, and I still love taking pictures.
Pictures are from my instamatic archives - 1974/1975 High School Rodeos in British Columbia.