The Washington Times - August 28, 2008, 12:55PM

 

August 27, 2008

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FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn - It’s late in the evening and the Minnesota sun is setting through storm clouds, as I walk briskly past people eating everything on a stick, carrying their huge stuffed animal prizes and wearing pimp-styled wide brim hats wrapped in neon colored feathers with a leopard print and flip flops, through the midway rides and young couples holding hands. Past the dairy building, the sheep and poultry building, near the cattle barn, finally arriving out of breath at the bull riding show at the Lee and Rose Warner Coliseum. I have never seen bull riding at a state fair, not even at the Maryland State Fair.

 

Arriving up the old concrete ramp into the coliseum, the scene opens up to a huge, dimly lit ring, with crowds in the stands and cowboys in their hats, long-sleeved plaid shirts, dusty jeans and boots. Above them are U.S. flags, behind them are gigantic, mean bulls in their corrals. Some have no horns, one has a horn missing, some horns are twisted each pointing in a different direction.  

The bulls seem to be oblivious to the bull riding going on in the soft dirt of the ring. Brave young cowboys ride on the backs of these incredible animals bucking and jumping with all four hoofs off the ground, tossing the cowboys around like a rag doll in the mouth of a pit bull. They only need to be on the bull for eight seconds, and for them it’s a challenge. For people like you or me that’s a lifetime, as your life would pass before your eyes in front of men, women and children eating everything on a stick…Uff da!

 

The show is over now and the bulls are being led from their stage in a miniature cattle drive, and onto a truck with people trying to reach over the rail to touch them, ok now that’s a big mistake….you betcha! Filing out into the warm night, people disappear back into the midway rides and neon lights as a light rain starts to fall, and lighting is sharing the sky with the fireworks.

 

Rod Lamkey Jr.

Staff Photographer

The Washington Times