Leader of the Pack by JamesHarmon McQuilkin

It wasn’t till I moved to Florida did I attended my first rodeo.

I grew up in the northwest of New Jersey. I was surrounded by lakes, farms, and forests. Animals were everywhere. I rode my first horse when I was two. My grandfather owned a couple of horses and had a small stable in his backyard. Many of my friends’ families were privileged enough to afford riding-lessons, and a few maintained their own stables. I had a few opportunities over the many years to ride, but never to attend a rodeo. There was a time when Wide World of Sports showed rodeos, but that was the closest that I came to actually seeing one. I did attend a horse/equestrian show years later, but that was it.

Since arriving in Florida-7 years ago- I’ve taken several opportunities to attend rodeos. My favorite part is the bucking broncos. My least favorite part is the roping of the calves. However, I’ve always admired the skills that go into all of it–even the clowns.

This particular rodeo took place at the Port Saint Lucie Fairgrounds, where there is a steady flow of cattle (And assorted other livestock) sold at auction for breeding and consumption.