Rodeo is one of the few applied sports. In it, real men demonstrate the skills that a cowboy needs in everyday work. The only exception is riding a bull.
While traveling through the Australian outback – the outback – we were endlessly bothered by minor troubles: either the radiator was boiling, or the wheels were breaking. However, the wheels in this area are the same consumables as water, and several reserves are a necessary attribute of any trip. The prospect of staying with punctured wheels in a deserted desert at a temperature of + 50 ° C is not a pleasant one: in huge spaces only occasionally there are single farms. We stopped by one – ask about the wheels (we already used our spare wheel), spend the night and get water. John, the owner of the farm, turned out to be the cutest person. He allowed him to rummage in his barn in search of wheels of the required radius, looked at our radiator and, carried away, did a full vehicle inspection. In general, we were very lucky, especially when you consider that in the morning our owner had to leave for a whole week – to inspect his possessions. And they are not small: one hundred and two hundred kilometers, more than other states.
The usual meadow, the sea of ”horse” trailers, jeeps, corrals for horses and bulls. The stands are made of hay bales. Another three hours before the show, and the audience is already in place.
Nowhere to get to. In the evening, John and I got into a conversation. It turned out that such ranches in these parts are not uncommon. The land here is scarce, almost nothing grows, but it is quite suitable for animal husbandry. Once every three to four weeks, John travels around his property; checks a 600-kilometer fence (the whole territory is fenced), repairs windmills that autonomously pump water for small artificial watering places, and also records livestock – it has several thousand cows. “John, where do you get so many cows and how do you deal with such an economy?” I asked in surprise. – In spring and summer I work myself, and in the autumn I hire cowboys, seven to ten people who collect my herds across the territory and drive them to the right place. They work for about three months, the work is hard, but they do it. No one complains, and I pay them well. Sometimes someone stays the whole year and helps me with the housework. Now two young guys are also helping, they worked last year, and so I got accustomed. They arrived from Townsville, they say that they specifically escaped from the city to test themselves. There’s nowhere to go, ”John shrugs around,“ only a farm and a roadside pub forty-five kilometers away, where all the locals — farmers and cowboys — flock for a weekend to talk and have a beer. ” We have two main attractions here: a pub and a job. “John, but if there are cowboys, then there must be a rodeo?” – There is. Only now is not the time, usually a rodeo is arranged in late autumn or at the very beginning of winter. Cowboy Vasya. Call from Australia: “You wanted to shoot a rodeo? Come over. We have begun the season. ” And here again, Australia, the road to Victoria, to the city of Geelong, where one of the farms runs a real village rodeo. The usual meadow, the sea of ”horse” trailers, jeeps, corrals for horses and bulls. The stands are made of hay bales. Another three hours before the show, and the audience is already in place. There is a brisk trade in all the cowboy paraphernalia: hats, boots, whips. Every 50 meters, sausages and kangaroo steaks hiss on the barbecue. And of course, 4X and WB are the favorite beer of Australians, they often drink it a lot. I also swallowed and went to look around. “Hi mate, what are you doing here?” (Great man! What are you doing here?) – a voice came from behind me. Here we must immediately make a reservation: for Australians, the key and most valuable concept in relations between people is “mate”; pronounced like “mite,” something like our male partnership.
A good saddle is a fortune, sometimes an annual salary is laid out for it!
“I’m a journalist from Russia, I want to shoot a rodeo, but you have fences everywhere,” I say and point to a case with photo equipment. – Hello! I am Vasily, also Russian. Come on, I’ll show you everything. I am a cowboy, but today I’m not participating, a back injury. Incredibly, on the other side of the globe in an Australian outback, a real cowboy spoke to me in pure Russian! “My parents came from Russia twenty years ago,” continued the cowboy Vasily, “so that I was a child on the Green Continent.” How did you become a cowboy? Yes, you know, was treated for addiction. No, not drugs – computer games. He sat down in college, then went to work, but he spent all his money in computer clubs. Jumping off is just as difficult as jumping off heroin. In general, when I turned seventeen, my father sent me to Queensland, to a cowboy farm, to clean my brains. We went to the area fenced off from the audience, where the participants were preparing for the performance. “Take off anyone and what you want, just don’t touch the saddles and hats,” warned Vasily, “otherwise the guys may be offended, they are superstitious people.” A saddle for a cowboy means a lot, because sometimes it takes more time to spend in it than at home.