My friend Brian Jones discovered the Flint Hills Rodeo in 1982, on his way home from Kansas State University. He thought I might enjoy this and encouraged me check it out. I went the next evening—and I haven't missed more than two or three years since. It is a spring ritual, shared by my folks, and to which I have hosted many guests over the years. I remember being there one year, with friends from Colombia and Mexico, when tornado sirens twice cleared the stands—but the show still went on.

The rodeo is in some ways a time capsule and in other ways a barometer—it is not difficult to correlate what you see there with the regional economy. For as many times as I've been, I'm surprised by how few photographs I have. I think it is one event where I enjoy being a spectator more than I do being a photographer. This said, I've still had a difficult time limiting this to 20. The oldest images here are from the late 1980s and the newest this past spring.

A note about the last slide. A big copy of this hangs in my kitchen. It was made 15 years ago and still, I see something new and interesting every time I look at it. I had this hanging in a gallery once and it was probably a year before the manager realized that she was in it!

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