Last week I spent hours at the Olmsted County Fair. There are just so many cool, interesting and fun things to photograph at an event like this and since it only comes around once a year I made it count! I had done the same thing in 2017, but then we were on vacation when it came to town last year, so I made up for lost time this year! I was there Tuesday and Wednesday with my girls who spent 3-4 hours each night going on rides while I walked around looking for cool things to photograph. Then Friday night I went on my own and spent a few hours at the rodeo, which was going on in the grandstands. I had shot a couple of rodeos back in the 90s when I worked as a photojournalist for the Rochester newspaper, and I remembered how much fun it was, so figured it was long overdue that I shoot another! Thankfully the organizer was cool with me hanging around the riders and bullpens, as long as I signed a waiver and shared the photos, so within a few minutes I was in and good-to-go! I’ve always had a nack for getting into events and things where I shouldn’t be, and this one was no different! Haha!

There’s just something about shooting an event like this that is just cool. You have these super tough guys who have no fear wearing chaps, cowboy boots and cowboy hats getting on these monstrous animals that are solid muscle and holding on for dear life while the crowd cheers. Many get thrown off and many get injured, but they almost always walk it off and get back on another bull for yet another crazy ride. I’m sure it’s an amazing experience, an adrenaline rush and also a way to make some money, but holy crap!

So, below are highlights from an evening at the rodeo. I wish I could have shot longer, but the light was gone by 9pm, so I headed back to the midway for some nighttime ride shots. Hopefully I’ll get another chance to shoot a rodeo because it sure is fun!

Rochester, Minnesota, Photographer, Dean Riggott, has specialized in commercial, corporate & editorial photography since 1991. Areas of expertise include agriculture, food, product, architecture, hospitality, industrial, healthcare, environmental portraits and education photography.