Anthropologically interesting (depressing?) clips from a rodeo competition I saw in Jackson, Wyoming earlier this week, where rodeo is the official state sport, patriotism and Jesus rule, and the free and the brave gather to make a sport out of dominating frightened animals.
This was my first rodeo and in terms of animal cruelty, it seemed to me much less egregious than what happens in many other rodeo events nationwide. While partly true (is it because, owing to Yellowstone NP, Jackson caters to an audience from all over the country and the world?), I realize now that my ignorance too had led me to this assessment. For instance, I was told at the event that every bucking horse is an "unbroken horse" behaving naturally when a rider gets on. That's not true. These horses buck wildly because a strap is tightened around their flanks and they try to get rid of this irritant. That's why the horse keeps bucking until the strap is released, long after it has thrown off the cowboy. Alongside, spurs are driven into its shoulders and electric prods are often used to aggravate it at the start. Not pretty. Some of the worst abuse though happens to terrified calves.