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Spokane Interstate Fair 2018: Sights from the rodeo 

click to enlarge Clay Stone holds on tight on to Jereco during a bareback riding competition. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • Clay Stone holds on tight on to Jereco during a bareback riding competition.
The cowboys lean against the arena fence. With adhesive bandages they tape their arms, fingers and wrists as the sun fades on opening day of the Spokane Interstate Fair Friday.

Their demeanor is cool, calm, collected. They jostle each other and joke somewhat discreetly. Tobacco shoots from their mouths every 5 seconds it seems. But as they prepare for the night’s competition, they exude an earnestness that is, to me, entirely unexpected at a rodeo.

In the next few hours, these guys will be whipped around, thrown, and stomped on by animals 10 times their size.

I guess I didn’t know what to expect. My only real exposure to rodeos was from Garth Brooks’ “Rodeo,” that famous ’90s country hit that even the yuppiest music fans can boogie to (and if you don’t think so then you probably just hate music). And the song’s lyrics are pretty close to the truth.

Before the competitions kicked off, Spokane Valley’s Valerie Stichweh performed the national anthem. I don’t consider myself an overly patriotic soul, but I did get a little bit choked up. And it wasn’t because of her singing voice. I’m sure she’s great, but I only heard a few lines before her microphone cut out. It was awkward, yes, but audience members, from as far as Montana, all pitched in to sing the rest of the anthem.

The photos below do more than words can.

click to enlarge A cowboy tapes up his fingers before the Rodeo begins on Friday, Sept. 7. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • A cowboy tapes up his fingers before the Rodeo begins on Friday, Sept. 7.

click to enlarge Ride that bull. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • Ride that bull.
click to enlarge A rider comes to his feet after being thrown from a horse during the saddle bronc riding competition. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • A rider comes to his feet after being thrown from a horse during the saddle bronc riding competition.
click to enlarge A cowboy dashes to tie up a steer in the tie down roping competition. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • A cowboy dashes to tie up a steer in the tie down roping competition.
click to enlarge The Spokane County Interstate Fair Flag Team circles the arena in support of breast cancer survivors. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • The Spokane County Interstate Fair Flag Team circles the arena in support of breast cancer survivors.
click to enlarge Casey Wagner rushes to finish in the barrel racing competition - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • Casey Wagner rushes to finish in the barrel racing competition
click to enlarge QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
click to enlarge Cowboys watch from behind the scenes as the competitions finish. - QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
  • Cowboys watch from behind the scenes as the competitions finish.
click to enlarge QUINN WELSCH PHOTO
  • Quinn Welsch photo
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Celebrate Bob Ross Paint 'n' Sip Event @ Pinot's Palette

Tue., Nov. 20, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

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