The thrills and spills of rodeo photography are on display at Western Heritage Museum

“Flying High and Crash Landing: Bull Wrecks in Rodeo”
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 N.E. 63rd
Through Jan. 10, 2011
$12.50 for adults, $9.75 for seniors and students, $5.75 for children ages 4 to 12, free for children 3 and under

When it happens, it’s nearly impossible to look away.

Whether it’s the grinding sound of metal-on-metal in car racing or the excitement of seeing a cowboy hat float to the ground as a rider is tossed off a 2,000-pound animal, people love to watch wrecks and see crashes.

That rush can be felt over and over again at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 N.E. 63rd, with “Flying High and Crash Landing: Bull Wrecks in Rodeo.” The photo exhibit, which is set up in the Osborn Photography Studio Gallery, showcases some of the nastiest spills and painful landings any cowboy has ever seen.

Curator Karen Spilman said the rodeo wrecks were captured between 1913 and 1971, and the photos capture some spectacular mishaps.

“People love to see the guys do well and see the ones that ride the eight seconds,” she said. “But the wrecks, they enjoy those just about as much.”

The exhibit includes the complete works of rodeo photographers Devere Helfrich and Ralph R. Doubleday, as well as images snapped by other photographers.

Spilman thinks viewers get a thrill out of seeing the images because they make viewers feel like real-life rodeo spectators.

“Bull riders relate it to watching cars race around the track,” she said. “The wrecks will always get attention because people to wonder how these guys are going to survive.”

The exhibit is on display through Jan. 10, 2011. Admission is $12.50 for adults, $9.75 for seniors and students and $5.75 for children ages 4 to 12. Children 3 and under are free.

For more information call 478-2250 or visit “”Adam Kemp


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