The Line of the Week
Bull Riding, Tahoe Style
There’s something fun about being out of place. You can be the dude with the jeans on a Squaw powder day, or the chick with the ankle long dress and long pants swimming in the lake. Either way, regardless of how comfortable you feel you simply don’t fit in. If you’ve ever been that person, you realize that regardless of your strut, your pride or prowess, people are staring at you and judging you. When push comes to shove you got to stick to your guns and push the envelope. That leads me to the following questions, who is more bad ass, the pro or the amateur with style? The guy on the real bull or the guy with the mechanical bull? The guy with true style or the poser in ski boots?
Last night, I found myself elbows deep in a vat of “Kick Ass Fries” at the Reno Rodeo. For those that don’t know “Kick Ass Fries” are fries smothered and covered with cheese, BBQ sauce, and pulled pork. It’s the kind of meal that really solidifies your place in time. With my first bite there was no question that one, I was in Reno and two, I was at the rodeo. There’s something special about seeing people of all shapes and sizes coming together for a meal. Hot and heinous, skinny and fat, young and old were all enjoying those fires with unparalleled pleasure.
The invite came from my trusted companion, Rylan Cordova who is always down for a mission. The goal was simple, drive down to Reno, pound a few Coors, shoot a shot of whiskey, check out the cowgirls, eat tons of unhealthy food, and hoot and holler at the rodeo. A photo pass came my way last minute which sealed the deal.
As we were leaving Truckee I asked Rylan if he was a real man. I wanted to know what he was made of. There is a time in every man’s life when he needs to go out on a limb and take a chance. For Rylan, that day was today. “You think you can ride the mechanical bull with those bright green Dalbello boots of yours? After all, they sponsor you. You don’t want to let them down.”, I said. In the back of mind all I could think about was how funny it was going to be to watch Rylan walk around the rodeo grounds with ski boots in the summer.
Rylan threw his boots over his shoulder and made his way through the masses of ten gallon hats, spurs and pearly button shirts of the rodeo in true Tahoe style. The double takes and whispers that surrounded us as we walked were priceless. It’s something else to be judged and laughed at constantly. Rylan Cordova was a true master. He made his way over to the bull. We had just watched a couple hours of cowboys riding real bulls so Rylan must have had his technique down. My thought was who is the real man at the rodeo?
I don’t think the mechanical bull technician took him seriously. I don’t think he realized how us Tahoe folks roll because when Rylan approached the bull, clunked on the tarmac and the tumble weeds blew the technician shook his head. He let Rylan ride, but I swear the 16 year old with the whale tail that road just before him got a wilder ride. Needless to say, he rode in style. The bull bucked and the bull wailed and Rylan held on for the 8 seconds necessary to dub him a man. The girls flocked and we headed to the cowboy/country dance party. The confusion never ceased. Swing dancers were careening into our pile of stuff on the ground. They were very apologetic until they realized what they just tripped over was a bright green pair of ski boots. Some laughed, some shook their heads, a couple cursed at us and a few high fived. Either way the rodeo delivered. Shit, I might go back again tonight.
“We all have to hop on that bull and ride it in whatever boots we where born with. In the end, it’s always worth the ride!” - Rylan Cordova
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The Line of the Week is a weekly photo piece by Ryan Salm featuring some of Tahoe’s finest athletes doing whatever we deem rad. We will be using the term “Line” loosely to describe anything resembling chutes, big airs, pointers or any general madness. All images are the property and copyright of Ryan Salm Photography. All images are only to be used in conjunction with the Line of the Week. Any other usage must be cleared in writing by Ryan Salm.