Oklahoma State Prison Rodeo. McAlester, Oklahoma.

In my last post I mentioned the ubiquity of photographs of the Angola Prison Rodeo. Well, there’s another of these gladiatorial spectacles. It’s at Oklahoma State Prison in McAlester. And my friend Sol Neelman went there once.

Sol writes:

I remember sitting on a chair, trying to clear my head and thinking: “It’s a Friday night and I’m in Oklahoma at a prison rodeo. And I just got hit by a horse. WHAT?”

Yeah. Hit by a horse.

I was on the rodeo ground taking photos with a wide lens when I turned around and spotted two horses galloping right at me. One was out of control and a rider was trying to reign him in. I got caught in between the two. It happened fast. I remember thinking: “Uh-oh.” And that’s it. Total silence. Then I remember hearing (not seeing) someone talking to me, telling me I was alright and to have a seat in a chair.

The next day at the rodeo, everyone was asking me how I was doing. “You OK? I bet you’re sore!” I guess I had made a scene. Aside from my concussion, I had a small bruise on my right leg, where the horse had likely nailed me with his head. And yes, a sore, sore back.

Overall, I was very lucky. And I’ve been in wild situations like that all the time, one reason why I never feel fear or panic. I’m used to being in the middle of insanity. Plus, I’ve never had an accident: not in a car, not for work, and not by the hand, er, head of a bucking bronco.

While sitting in that chair, I kept thinking: Is this worth it? Is what I’m doing worth risking my health for?

Thing is, I know nothing else. I love so much what I do.

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