Rock Bottom Chuck Wagon Races 2016

There are lots of subjects I like to photograph, they usually involve underwater photography, beautiful models or frolicking dolphin  but if I had to pick one type of photography, it would probably be EVENT Photography. There are lots of events we attend around the country trying to capture some memorable photographs that we hope will last a lifetime and make people smile years from now when they look back at them.

The Rock Bottom Experience has become one of my absolute favorite places to sit behind a camera, and it is a total experience to take it all in. It started 10 years ago simply as a weekend of Chuck Wagon Racing. Since then, it’s grown and grown. The Chuck Wagon Races are still there, but they’ve added dozens of other events to sit back and watch. It’s now multiple days long and attended by thousands of people.

For those who have the A.D.D, (I fully admit I do) there is something going on at all times and if you aren’t even into the events, just the ranch itself is breathtakingly beautiful. It offers some eye candy for just about anyone and for all ages. There is beautiful camping, some with electric hook-ups, but most is boondocking at its finest. There is a beautiful creek to take a swim, lounge beside or water the horses. Action events which include but are not limited to Bull Riding, Cowboy Shooting, Bronc Riding, Mutton Busting, Barrel Racing, Chuck Wagon Races, port-a-potty races even Mule Races that involve a big hill with a 90 degree turn at the top. In the arena there is Mule Jumping, Roping, Riding and Racing and some of the best food we’ve had in a long time. Each night we’d listen to a live band in the outdoor party area where most of the cowboys and cowgirls would congregate to talk about the days activities.

The Fowler’s, the family that hosts the event go out of their way to make sure everyone enjoys themselves and enjoys their property. How many folks do you know who spend a month working from sun up to well after sun down to make sure everything goes off as smoothly as possible. Then again, how many folks do you know who host a party for a few thousand people in their backyard?

Our time spent here was awesome! We got to enjoy time with folks we haven’t seen in a few years. Got our fill of horses, camping, photography and drinking. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. I always get a tad bit nervous going into a big event wondering if we brought the right gear, if we’re going to get good shots or if we’ll live up to what was expected of us by those who hired us to shoot the event. I can’t imagine how nervous Cindy was, she hasn’t shot in years, her change in eye sight (over 40 eyes) has made shooting almost unpleasant for her up till a month or so ago when she finally broke down and admitted she need glasses. Once she got those prescription readers, which allows her to wear them all the time, no more of that annoying moving them up on top of the head and then back to the eyeballs to see what she needs to look at… After 15 minutes of holding a camera again she looked at me and said, “I’m excited, I can actually see what I’m doing!” Numerous times did she nail the shot that I missed, so having her along as a part of the team again really made a huge difference. And it was great to see her smiling from ear to ear behind the camera again.

As we left the arena and had taken time to go through some of our photos, both of us smiled knowing we accomplished our goals of making this an event to remember through photos and memories. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did making them.

Chuck Wagon Racing, Rock Bottom, Arkansas, Bonish Photo

The Classics getting ready to run their race in the Chuck Wagon Racing

Kevin Browning, Bonish Photo, Rock Bottom, Comanche

Kevin “Eyes Like Sky” Browning of the Comanche Nation

Bucking Bronc, Bronc Riding, Rodeo, Bonish Photo, Rock Bottom

You’ve got to be Tough to ride Jake Fowler’s Bronc Sky 90! He lives up to his name every time

Rock Bottom, Mutton Busting, Bonish Photo, Rodeo

The expression on this kids face just cracks me up! Mutton Busting at its best

Cowboy Shooting, Bonish Photo, Rock Bottom

Imagine riding a horse in a barrel racing event. Now imagine shooting from that horse and hitting the target!

Cowboy, Bonish Photo, Rock Bottom

Little Cowboy that would sit across from our camper and play on and with his horse all day long

Yamaha, Sport UTE, Side By Side, Bonish Photo, Rock Bottom

We had brought our Scooter to use as a run around vehicle around the ranch. But the Fowler’s spoiled us and gave us one of these to use! It makes for transporting a bunch of photography gear all too easy. I almost thought Cindy was going to ask if we could take it home with us she liked it so much!

Yamaha, Sport UTE, Side By Side, Bonish Photo, Rock Bottom

All the Essentials you’d need for a rodeo covering a few hundred acres.

Wild Horses, Rock Bottom, Bonish Photo

Although total chaos at the moment when two of the Bucking Bronc’s got lose, it made for some beautiful images. This is when you’re glad you have a long telephoto lens to stay far away from them

Barrel Racing, Bonish Photo, Rock Bottom, Arkansas

The Barrel Racing is always a great event to watch. The horses are so fast and can turn on a dime!

Mule Jumping, Rock Bottom, Bonish Photo

This guy said he’d have paid you $5000 if your mule could jump higher than his! Makes you wonder how you keep them penned up?

Dog, Cindy Bonish, Bonish Photo, Rock Bottom

Little sleeping on Cindy’s lap on the ride up

Jake Barnes, Rodeo, Bronc Riding, Rock Bottom, Bonish Photo

Jake Barnes showing them how it’s done during the Bronc Riding Event

Cowboy Shooting, Rock Bottom, Bonish Photo

This is a great event to photograph!

Good Ass Beer, Drinking, Rock Bottom, Bonish Photo

I was atop the Bucking Chutes, the guy beside me was drinking this beer. Do you think I could let it go without taking a photo!!

Chuck Wagon Racing, Bonish Photo, Rock Bottom

Another of the Classic’s during the Chuck Wagon Racing

Horse Face, Rock Bottom, Bonish Photo,

You know you had a rough night when you wake up to this view

Mutton Busting, Rock Bottom, Rodeo, Bonish Photo

She Held on for so long they had to catch the sheep to get her off of it. Needless to say, she won!

Rock Bottom, Arkansas, Bonish Photo

Imagine if this was in your yard! This is the creek that flows through the ranch

Rock Bottom Chuck Wagon Racing, Bonish Photo, Arkansas

Adam Jones and his family watching the Chuck Wagon Races. Adam also won his Class!

Horse Racing, Rock Bottom, Bonish Photo

The always wild Snowy River Race

Sport UTE, Yamaha, Rock Bottom, Bonish Photo

When you have to go doctor a sick calf, it makes for great fun to watch Jake try and wrangle it out the side of a Sport UTE

Air EVAC, EMS, Bonish Photo, Chuck Wagon Racing, Rock Bottom,

It’s the nature of the sport. When you go down during a horse race, you usually go down pretty hard! Luckily these guys were close at hand and had the racer doctored up quickly

Rock Bottom, Horse Arena, Bonish Photo

You couldnt have asked for a more beautiful scene during the opening ceremonies of the 10th Annual Rock Bottom Event

Creek Crossing, Sport UTE, Bonish Photo

Crossing the Creek in the Sport UTE, if you remember the last time we visited the Fowler’s and crossed this in the truck and it was up over the hood!!

Mutton Busting, Rock Bottom, Bonish Photo

Another of the Mutton Busting Winners! Makes you proud to see the little girls competing and WINNING

Rock Bottom, Bonish Photo, Arkansas

Early morning on the Ranch

Dog, Cindy Bonish, Bonish Photo

These two sit and tell one another jokes the entire time we drive….and we LAUGH

Bull Riding, Bonish Photo, Rock Bottom,

The Main Event! The Bull Riding always entertains the crowds

Chuck Wagon Racing, Rock Bottom, Bonish Photo

3 Wide during the Chuck Wagon Races makes for some nail biting turns

Shooting, Liberty Suppressors, Bonish Photo

Once the crowds left and it was just us, we broke out the toys and had some fun!

Rock Bottom Saloon, Arkansas, Bonish Photo

The Saloon area at night is just magical

Rock Bottom, Bonish Photo, Arkansas

It’s just picturesque everywhere you look

Mutton Busting, Cowgirl, Bonish Photo

The Mutton Busting Winner going to get her trophy

Horse Exchange, Rock Bottom, Bonish Photo

This was the horse exchange event. One rider would come riding up and jump off while the other rider would grab the horn of the saddle, swing up and ride off without the horse ever coming to a stop

Little, Wonder Dog, Bonish Photo

If we passed you on the road and you saw this, we hope we put a smile on your face

If you attended the events or want to see many, many more images from the event, here is a link to our various galleries

Rock Bottom Bronc Riding

The People & Scenes of Rock Bottom

Rock Bottom Barrel Racing

Rock Bottom Chuck Wagon Racing

Rock Bottom Mutton Busting

Rock Bottom Bull Riding


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5 Responses to “Rock Bottom Chuck Wagon Races 2016”

  1. sueJune 3, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

    awesome photos!!! makes me want to go!! good job covering all events!

    • Pat BonishJune 3, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

      Thank you Sue! You should make it a point to attend one year. It’s beautiful and the whole area of the Ozarks is just awe inspiring

  2. MerisaJune 7, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

    I cant find the pasture roping. can you tell me how to see those pictures?

    • Pat BonishJune 7, 2016 at 8:37 pm #

      We haven’t uploaded any of them at this point. Still working on them. I think we only got a few of that event unfortunately


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