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Montana Horsewoman Gets the Ride of Her Life

Montana Horsewoman Gets the Ride of Her Life

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When Sarai McCollaum, last year’s rodeo queen, came loping into the arena, she didn’t expect anything to happen.  She was on her loyal buckskin, Tuffy, who had never done anything wrong.

Rodeo queens are the female representatives of their local rodeos.  Each year, a new rodeo queen is appointed.  Their job is to get interviewed, show up at charity events, ride in parades and more.  Rodeo queens are chosen depending on how experienced they are around horses.

The tradition is that, at the start of every rodeo, the queens are supposed to lope into the arena and wave to the crowd before leaving.

Sarai was riding her buckskin gelding, Tuffy, with whom she’s done everything with.  According to the Missoulian, he’s never bucked before.

So when he did, everyone was surprised.

She and Tuffy came walking through the gate.  She asked him to start loping.  After doing that for a few moments, it all went downhill.  All she knew was that Tuffy planted his front feet in the arena sand.

Sarai knew instantly what was coming next and was confused–he had never bucked…why would he start now?

So when Tuffy started to throw his hind hooves to the wind, Sarai hung on tight.

According to Missoulian, ‘it was crazy’.  She just kept telling herself that she wasn’t going to fall in front of the loads of people there.

Photographer Dave Hollenback had just arrived in the arena when Tuffy started to flip out.  Dave expressed amazement before pulling it together enough to take many pictures.  He captured 74 beautifully clear shots, which you can see here.

The cowboys that ride saddle broncs only had to stay on for eight seconds. A video showed that Sarai stayed on for fifteen.

Saddle broncs are horses that have been trained to buck and are more likely to do so.  It is a common sport in rodeos, where cowboys try to stay on the ‘bucking bronco’ for longer than eight seconds.

The show stopped when Tuffy found himself facing the fence.  The rodeo people were telling Sarai to ‘take her time and get collected,’ but she said, “I’m good.  Where’s my hat?” The video showed her putting her hat back on and waving to the cheering audience as though nothing had even happened.

Then she and Tuffy trotted around the arena, and that was that.

“People were lifting their hats to me,” Sarai remarks.  She rode Tuffy in a parade Wednesday morning, with loud sounds and cheering kids, and he never spooked–the behavior was definitely not like him.

“I think she got the highest score of the night,” Hollenback reports.  “She did good.”

Cover photo courtesy of Dave Hollenback.

You can read the entire article here.

 

 

 

 

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