Bright sunlight bathes a scene of several horses and riders in a dirt-floored ring. Crowds of onlookers pack the stands, hodling and waving flags.
Photo by Dave Shafer

While taking photographs this summer for “Fight or Flight,” Dave Shafer visited the Jim Bowie Days Rodeo and Celebration in Bowie, between Wichita Falls and Fort Worth. Shafer was taking portraits of rodeo contestants when the sun descended behind the clouds, and he turned his attention to the arena. “The sun and clouds were my heroes at this moment,” Shafer says. “The crowd was full and excited. I just needed some compelling action.” Fortunately, the ranch bronc riders rose to the occasion. Shafer captured this cowboy as he was closing in on the 8-second buzzer, which marks the minimum time a rider must stay on the bronc to get a score. The rodeo is held annually at the Bowie Rodeo Arena during the last full week of June.

From the September 2021 issue
The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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