My friend SuzAnne invited me to photograph a horseback trip in eastern Montana, complete with a cattle herding clinic and a side trip to the world famous Bucking Horse Sale in Miles City. How could I resist? Here was my chance to redeem myself after falling off my horse twice the last trip I photographed for her. Time to get back in the saddle. I dusted off my boots and got my camera holster ready.
When I arrived at Dunrovin Ranch in Lolo, Montana, the weather was ideal. A few puffy white clouds in the big sapphire blue sky.
Despite skies like these, weather forecasts were predicting nearly a 100% likelihood of heavy rains in coming days.
The day after I arrived, SuzAnne took me on a beautiful trail ride. Of course, I thought the weather gods were on our side. Looking at a sky like this who could imagine what was ahead of us?
Later that afternoon kids had come for the Pony Club. The three year olds in the club have much better balance on their horses than I do.
And much cooler boots.
Early the next morning I met the women going on the trip, and we loaded the horses and gear in the trailer. SuzAnne revved up Ms. Dixie and turned her wheels east.
adjacent to one of the five largest Montana timber mills still in operation.
That evening we stopped in Roundup and took our first ride. Annette rode side saddle.
I didn't even fall off of this horse.
SuzAnne just couldn't wait to get her pony going.
The horses were fed...
and the humans. Nice homemade pies at the Busy Bee Cafe.
Just to give you a peek at what’s to come, here’s the Busy Bee Cafe five days later.
It was about 8pm that evening when we arrived at our final destination that day, Runamuk Ranch.
By now the rain had arrived and mucky it was.
We were scheduled to ride the next morning, but by then it was a downpour and we decided not to take the horses on a slip and slide. So instead we headed out early for the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale.
And when we arrived it was WET.
And just a little WILD.
Even the young mutton busters riding the sheep
came face to face with the mud.
Some of the viewers grabbed front row seats.
And if you're a boy, six years old, and live in Miles City, you better wear a cowboy hat.
Ditto, if you're a girl!!
Some were clownin' around—but all the mud was no joke.
And some are seriously cool—mud and all.
The last event of the evening was the wild horse race where teams of three have to capture...
and saddle their designated horse...
and then attempt to ride it around the track once.
Miles City nearly doubles its population the weekend of the Bucking Horse Sale. This year, due to the rain, there were only a few dancing in the street at this typically packed event. After a very wet day we hung our dusters up to dry and hit the hay. I'll meet you in the mornin' at the Range Rider’s Museum for a pancake breakfast!