21st Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest The American Experience
Western Salutations

Rodeo is a way of life and is a vibrant culture in the American West. All rodeos, like every other public event, were on hold in 2020 due to covid. In 2021, Gardiner, Montana, the Northwest gateway town into Yellowstone National Park, was able to put on its annual rodeo once again. For context, Gardiner is a town of maybe 900 people, and yet on the no stoplight, mile-long Main Street of this tourist town, there exists permanent rodeo grounds to be used for one weekend a year. Rodeo is important out here. The historic town of Gardiner has been home to miners, ranchers, elk-outfitters and now non-consumptive Greeny ecotrousim in the park -- all thanks to the wolves. For one weekend a year, the cowboys roll back into town like tumbleweeds with 400 horsepower. We are transported back into a time of early life in the American West. It was almost as if the musician was trumpeting for the return from covid, the return to community and the return to the togetherness that makes the American West such a strong place.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 06.2021
Date Uploaded: 11.2023
Photo Location: Gardiner, Montana, United States of America
Camera: ILCE-7RM4
Copyright: © Kate Ochsman