Young buck tries hand at rodeo

Posted Oct. 03, 2013, at 6:55 a.m.
A pair of cowboys chat under clear blue skies during a rodeo at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013.
Robert F. Bukaty
A pair of cowboys chat under clear blue skies during a rodeo at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013. Buy Photo
Mark Small of Cumberland, Maine, competes in the bull riding competition at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013.
Robert F. Bukaty
Mark Small of Cumberland, Maine, competes in the bull riding competition at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013. Buy Photo
A youngster competes in a race during the rodeo at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013.
Robert F. Bukaty
A youngster competes in a race during the rodeo at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013. Buy Photo
Austin Stewart of Cumberland, Maine, performs tricks with a rope while entertaining at the Cumberland County Fair Rodeo, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013.
Robert F. Bukaty
Austin Stewart of Cumberland, Maine, performs tricks with a rope while entertaining at the Cumberland County Fair Rodeo, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013. Buy Photo
A contestant flips a calf in the tie-down roping competition at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013.
Robert F. Bukaty
A contestant flips a calf in the tie-down roping competition at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013. Buy Photo
Carmine Nastri of Ballston, N.Y., lassoes a calf on his way to win the tie-down roping competition at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013.
Robert F. Bukaty
Carmine Nastri of Ballston, N.Y., lassoes a calf on his way to win the tie-down roping competition at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013. Buy Photo
Brinson James, is carried away by his father, rodeo clown Hollywood Harris, while entertaining at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013.
Robert F. Bukaty
Brinson James, is carried away by his father, rodeo clown Hollywood Harris, while entertaining at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013. Buy Photo
Brinson James, snaps a bull whip to break a target held by his father, rodeo clown Hollywood Harris, while entertaining the crowd in between competitions at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013.
Robert F. Bukaty
Brinson James, snaps a bull whip to break a target held by his father, rodeo clown Hollywood Harris, while entertaining the crowd in between competitions at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013. Buy Photo
A contestant's well-worn boot and spur attest to the ruggedness of rodeo competition at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013.
Robert F. Bukaty
A contestant's well-worn boot and spur attest to the ruggedness of rodeo competition at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013. Buy Photo
A competitor in the girls barrel race charges out of the gate at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013.
Robert F. Bukaty
A competitor in the girls barrel race charges out of the gate at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013. Buy Photo
Seventeen-year-old David Harding of Shirley, Maine, loses his hat just before getting thrown off during the bull riding competition at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013.
Robert F. Bukaty
Seventeen-year-old David Harding of Shirley, Maine, loses his hat just before getting thrown off during the bull riding competition at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013. Buy Photo
Seventeen-year-old David Harding of Shirley, Maine, tapes his left hand prior to competing in the bull riding competition at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013.
Robert F. Bukaty
Seventeen-year-old David Harding of Shirley, Maine, tapes his left hand prior to competing in the bull riding competition at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013. Buy Photo
David Harding's belt buckle depicts a cowboy kneeling down in prayer. Prior to the rodeo several contestants said their prayers before taking part in the challenging - and dangerous - sport. The event was held at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013.
Robert F. Bukaty
David Harding's belt buckle depicts a cowboy kneeling down in prayer. Prior to the rodeo several contestants said their prayers before taking part in the challenging - and dangerous - sport. The event was held at the Cumberland County Fair, Saturday, Sept 28, 2013. Buy Photo

CUMBERLAND, Maine – First David Harding’s hat flew off. Then he was thrown off. The ornery white bull, kicking and jumping, wanted nothing to do with the young cowboy. The ride lasted only about six seconds, but what a thrilling six seconds they were.

Harding, 17, of Shirley was probably the youngest competitor at Saturday’s Rawhide Rodeo at the 142nd Cumberland County Fair. Despite his rough landing in the dirt he suffered no injury.

Before the event a few cowboys knelt down to say a prayer. Harding’s belt buckle even features a praying cowboy. No matter how much they train, a little help from above couldn’t hurt.

“Just like football players and other athletes [the cowboys] have trainers and doctors, and physical therapists,” said rodeo secretary Becky Quartararo of Gansevoort, N.Y. “But the cowboys are not the only athletes in this sport. Our animals are treated as athletes also, cared for the same way. They’re performance animals. And we take care of them as well as ourselves, if not better.”

 

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