Capturing the youth, future stars of our sport, is an honor. It is captured evidence that the world is continuing to grow and share western heritage through these young cowboys and cowgirls.
Every August, working cowboys and cowgirls converge on the beautiful Sul Ross State University S.A.L.E. Arena in Alpine to compete in the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo. This year’s performances were captured by the official photographer for the event, Hadley Anne Kibbe, based in Alpine.
Here, Kibbe shares highlights from that weekend.
“Ranch rodeos are different from professional rodeos. Ranch rodeo contestants are full-time working ranch hands, rather than full time professional rodeo performers. The competitions are also different. Ranch rodeo features individual and team events based on the real work that takes place on cattle ranches. For example, horseback contestants display finesse, horsemanship, and teamwork as they attempt to sort a cow from the herd in the Team Sorting event. Other events include Bronc Riding, Team Branding, Team Doctoring and more.
Ranch youth also get to showcase their skills in the Youth Working Cowhorse Competition. In what is perhaps one of the greatest highlights of the weekend, youth as young as seven deftly maneuver their ponies to steer a cow around the arena. And children love to race across the arena during the Boot Scramble contest. It’s a family-friendly weekend celebrating the unique lifestyles of working cowboys and cowgirls. The team with the highest overall points is awarded champion status and gets an automatic bid to compete in the Working Ranch Cowboys Association World Championships held in Amarillo each November. This year’s Big Bend Ranch Rodeo Champions were the Hatchet/Falcon Valley team from Southern Arizona.
About the photographer:
Hadley Anne Kibbe grew up in Stephenville and has been involved with rodeo her whole life. She started competing as a youngster and is currently a competing member and the President of the Sul Ross State University Rodeo Team. Kibbe, enrolled as a graduate student at Sul Ross, stays very busy. Besides rodeo, continuing education and photography, she’s a singer-songwriter and a new mom! She now lives in Alpine with her husband and growing family.
She got her start in photography as an Agriculture Communications undergraduate at Tarleton State University. She began taking photos for the school as well as senior photos and engagement shoots for friends. Her business grew from there. She recently branched out to do weddings and photographed four weddings in 2020. This was the first time Kibbe was invited to photograph Big Bend Ranch Rodeo, but as a rodeo regular, she has photographed many rodeo events in the past. For a look at all of the official photos from Big Bend Ranch Rodeo 2021, as well as more of Kibbe’s work, covering rodeos, safaris, and landscapes, visit HadleyAnnePhotography.SmugMug.com.
This is one of my favorite photos from the weekend because it truly shows how tough these cowboys are! Often times, cowboys get hurt in the arena from being thrown from the bronc. It’s part of rodeo. However, it’s not often that a photographer gets to capture them both in the exact same position as the same moment! This Cowboy was not hurt, but he sure had a great landing!”