Janesville41.1°

Bulls, horses steers and riders: Rodeo enters second day at fair

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Catherine W. Idzerda
July 31, 2011
— For the middle aged and physically cautious, the sight of young men being tossed like a salad from the backs of irritable animals is both disconcerting—and kind of cool.

One part of your brain tells you those young men ought know better: Rodeo bulls are disinclined to accept riders. No, rodeo bulls would rather put riders on the ground for greater ease of stomping.


But another part of your brain tells you this is a level of excitement you won’t get from an afternoon of curling—or professional football, hockey or mixed martial arts.


On Saturday, Three Hills Rodeo brought steer wrestling, calf roping, bareback riding, barrel riding, team roping and bull riding to the Rock County 4-H Fair.


It was the first of two Three Hills’ shows at this year’s fair. Today, a second show will be held at 5:30 p.m.


Some of the young men and women from Saturday’s show will return.


So will some of the rodeo bulls. After a refreshing night and a couple of good meals, they’ll be in prime stomping form.


Which raises an obvious question: What does it take to recover from an afternoon of wrestling steers, roping calves or bareback riding?


Chiropractic care is the obvious answer, but the straight backs and beautiful shoulders of the Hamilton men tell a different story.


Casey Hamilton, 23, a Janesville native, wrestled a steer to the ground during Saturday’s show. He also participates in calf roping, bareback riding and team roping.


This year, he’s won enough prize money to earn his “card,” which means he can participate in larger rodeos.


He works for Quality Liquid Feeds in Dodgeville, and the company sponsors his rodeo activities.


Casey’s grandfather, Oz Hamilton, 76, was involved in team and calf roping. He’s still involved in team roping.


Casey’s father, Tracy Hamilton, 52, was involved in bareback riding, and team and calf roping.


Tracy talked about the trick of staying on the back of a bucking horse in the same tone you’d use to relate a recipe for pie filling.


“As the horse is going down, you want to get your legs around it and hold on,” Tracy said.


Oh, really? That doesn’t sound too hard.


The two older Hamiltons exude the kind of calm that comes from participating in a sport with volatile and unpredictable opponents. After being thrown from—or jumping off—a bucking bronco several hundred times, not a lot will shake you.


Casey, of course, still has the heart and energy of youth. He’s as volatile as any other creature in the ring, and that makes him perfect for the sport.


And when the three generations of Hamilton men sit all in a row, their handsome profiles under white cowboy hats … well, that’s something to see, too.



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