Friday, Dec. 10, 2010 | 1:16 a.m.
The pace of the National Finals Rodeo is what catches you by surprise when you first watch the event live at the Thomas & Mack Center. During the run-up to this year’s event, officials and contestants had explained that it is quicker a pace than any rodeo in the country, and to watch the percolating 2-hour show play out is to appreciate precision in a sport rife with unpredictable moments.
You feel it as fans file into the Thomas & Mack not wanting to miss any of the celebratory moments leading up to the night’s roughstock and timed events. You feel it during the event’s nightly opening, when riders on galloping horses ring the arena floor carrying the flags of their states or countries.
The announcers are fairly breathless; the facility comes ablaze with lights and pyrotechnics. Music thunders through the venue. The events are rolled out seamlessly, so fluidly that a cowboy taking even a few seconds too long on a horse before a Bareback or Saddle Bronc ride draws the scorn of those who run the show.
One of the songs opening the night's events is the bouncy, quick-tempo “Viva Las Vegas,” and there is no better tune to play the time-lapse photographic sequence so masterfully assembled by Sun photographer Sam Morris. Using still photography exclusively, Sam has told the story of a rapidly unfolding night at the NFR that words can’t quite capture.
Viva Las Vegas, indeed.
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