"Heart pounding, blood pumping, the cowboy nods, chute gate opens, and his world begins. Eight seconds of adrenaline rush. Eight seconds of gripping, pulling, and holding on. The animal under him bucks and twists attempting to dislodge the cowboy's seat but the rider sticks like glue. The buzzer sounds, the cowboy dismounts, tips his hat to a cheering crowd, and nods at his proud fellow riders. Just another day at the office."--from Ropes, Reins, and Rawhide
Melody Groves, a native New Mexican and former bull rider, examines the sport of rodeo, from a brief history of the ranch-based competition to the rodeos of today and what each event demands. One of the first topics she addresses is the treatment of the animals. As she points out, without the bulls or horses, there wouldn't be a rodeo. For that reason, the stock contractors, chute workers, cowboys, and all the arena workers respect the animals and take precautions against their injuries.
Groves writes for the rodeo novice, explaining the workings and workers (stock handlers, veterinarians, clowns, "pick up" men, event judges, etc.) seen in the arena and behind the scenes. She then describes the rodeo events: bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping, and barrel racing. Interviews with rodeo legends in every event round out the "feel" for this breathtaking sport. Over ninety photos depict what is described in the text to more fully explain the rodeo, with its ropes, reins, and rawhide.