Big Dam Photo: Rodeo of the Ozarks, Springdale
If it wasn’t for the warm orange hue of the sunset, the photograph could be from just about any time in the Rodeo of the Ozark’s 70-plus-year history. Silhouetted against the horizon, the anonymous cowhand seems to represent the enduring legacy of the Wild West, that uniquely American era of history that has inspired innumerable men and women to carry on the tradition of roping and riding, whether out on the range or in front of a cheering crowd. “There are a lot of people there that play the part of a cowboy, and he definitely did,” says photographer Beth Hall, who captured the photo of the pensive ’poke when her 5-year-old son Hap competed in the Springdale rodeo’s “mutton bustin’”—or sheep riding—event a few years back. (He even won third place!) Though Hap’s interest in playing cowboy has since waned as he’s aged, the lone ranger immortalized here will be riding off into the sunset in perpetuity. Happy trails, buckaroo.