Inside the world of rodeo in Minnesota

Rodeos offer a chance for competitors to show off the skills needed for herding and managing cattle. But they're more than that. Young and old come together at events like the popular Hamel Rodeo in Corcoran — one of the state's largest — to celebrate not only horses and riding, but also the independent spirit that characterizes ranch life. 


Tyler Scheevel, of Lester Prairie, relaxed in the shade before he competed in the steer wrestling competition on the first night of the Hamel Rodeo in Hamel, Minn.
Pink cowboy hat, fancy boots and big smile firmly in place, Julia Johnstone of Minnetonka took advantage of the free pony rides held throughout the weekend. 
Priscilla Christensen, who was one of the flag girls, picked the hoof of a horse.
Successful tie-down roping depends on the teamwork between a cowboy and his horse. Texan Charlie Gibson took a few spins before the event. 
The host of the Hamel Rodeo was pulled by a horse on a snowboard through the arena to entertain the crowd.
From left, brothers Liam Heinonen, Evan Heinonen and their cousin Tommy Heinonen were dressed as cowboys and a sheriff as they took in the first night of the World’s Championship Hamel Rodeo & Bull Ridin’ Bonanza in Corcoran, the state’s largest professional rodeo.
Charlie Gibson said a prayer as he left the arena after competing in the tie down roping competition.
Ty Brown wrestled a steer during competition.
T.J. Moore Jr. competed in the saddle bronc riding competition.
Adele Hale, 10, Audra Walter, 10, and Emily Robideaux, 8, relaxed on a picnic blanket in the crowd.
Blake Chauvin competed in the rodeo’s tie-down roping event, which has roots going back to the ranches of the Old West. Ranch hands took pride in the speed with which they could rope and tie calves, eventually holding informal contests. Today, being a good horseman and sprinter is just as important as rope skills.
Sammie Schowalter and Maverick Meister, both of Stillwater, shared a quiet moment near the less glamorous — but very necessary — side of the rodeo.
A group of cowboys watched the action from the sidelines. The rodeo began in 1981 in the parking lot of Medina Ballroom, but is now held at Corcoran Lions Park. It is staffed entirely by volunteers.
“There’s nothing more I want to do than make a living riding bulls. Someday I’d like to be world champion,” Riggin Shippy, competing at the Hamel Rodeo, once told Rodeo News. His event, bull riding, has been called the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.
A woman competed in barrel racing.
The Riata Ranch Girls warmed up behind the scenes before their performance.