Saddle up: Inside America's heartland
The 4th of July is an ideal time for a good old-fashioned American rodeo.
Photographer JJ Sulin grew up in Chicago, where he had no experience of rodeo culture. But after his wife told him about the rodeo held every year in her hometown of Sidney, Iowa — aka “Rodeo Town, USA” — Sulin says he became “slightly obsessed.” So for four straight summers, Sulin visited Sidney’s rodeo, and captured what he saw.
Sulin, who lives in Brooklyn, realized early on that he didn’t quite fit in. “In my first visit to the rodeo my outsider status was never more apparent than when two young boys hesitantly approached to tell me I had my cowboy hat on backwards,” he said. “Had to wear one — there is a dress code for anyone that is working behind the scenes. It was my first purchase on the fair grounds.”
But being an outsider may have helped him see his subject with fresh eyes. “The images are a result of me looking for connection between the participants, the town and the animals of the rodeo,” Sulin said. “I’m fascinated with the connections within the small town and rodeo culture.”
So as you get set for the 4th, enjoy these beautiful shots of a quintessential American experience.