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Bull’s Eye: Peter Sibbald captures the gritty subculture of southern Ontario rodeos in his superb all-access series, Roughstock

Bull’s Eye: Peter Sibbald captures the gritty subculture of southern Ontario rodeos in his superb all-access series, Roughstock

Peter Sibbald was raised on Westerns. So the photographer was understandably captivated when he came across some classic cowboy culture close to home: the small towns and cities of southern Ontario, where rodeo has been an institution for more than 50 years. Devoted fans and curious first-timers congregate in Lindsay, Warkworth, Caledonia and even Mississauga on summer weekends to watch the bull riders—boys and men like Dave Buchanan (above)—fighting gravity and a ton of furious flesh to ride out the clock to victory. Sibbald has built his gorgeous series, Roughstock, around those thrill-seekers and their families, gaining intimate behind-the-scenes access. The show documents the bone-crunching energy of the ring, but it also looks at the quiet, workaday moments: a breakaway roper perfecting her technique; a dust-covered rider nestling a can of beer in one hand and his kid in the other; a Saturday night potluck. In this world, commitment to the rodeo way of life is as important as any championship buckle.

ART
Roughstock April 9 to 23, Bau-xi photo

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