Allen Russell: Native American Rodeo

Terminal 1

Feb 09, 2017 - May 01, 2017

Allen Russell: Native American Rodeo

The Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR), the largest and oldest organization of its kind, was founded in 1976. The INFR hosts a major championship competition in Las Vegas each year. As many as seventy-five different tribes compete in this prestigious event. Hundreds of other Native American rodeos take place nationwide, particularly in the larger western states. Many of these rodeos incorporate junior events and are associated with various youth groups. One of these regional rodeos, the Crow Fair, held in Montana, attracts competitors from across the country. The Crow Fair rodeo includes track races, sprint races, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, team roping, ladies’ breakaway or calf roping, and Indian relay. In this extraordinary competition, each team consists of one fearless rider, three unsaddled horses, and three courageous teammates who restrain the two additional horses as the rider slides off one horse, and leaps onto the next. The intent is for the rider to smoothly transfer and gallop around the track on each of the team’s three horses.

Self-taught photographer Allen Russell captures many of Montana’s Native American rodeos. His spontaneous, photo-journalistic shots range from adolescent bull riders to spectators and Miss Indian Rodeo winners. Russell says he photographs what he knows best: life in the American West. Born in Oklahoma, Russell hitchhiked to California in his late teens, where he began taking photographs. In 1975, Russell rode a horse from the Canadian border to the Mexican border down the Continental Divide. During this five-month trip, he passed through Montana and fell in love with the state. His photographs have appeared in publications such as Western Horseman and have been used extensively by major editorial clients worldwide. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of The Long Riders’ Guild. Russell lives and works from his ranch in Livingston, Montana.

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