THUNDER BAY -- While some his age might spend their summers doing other activities, Marshall Thordarson has more of a unique passion.
His idea of fun is saddling up on his horse and tossing a good rope.
For the past few years the 14-year-old has been a participant in the ranch rodeo at the Murillo Fair and with that experience, is enjoying the sport more and more.
“We’re getting better and improving with what we’re doing. Everybody here is getting to know one another,” he said.
Marshall first saw a rodeo years ago during a visit to Manitoba and it was something both he and his father Mark knew they wanted to give a try.
Now it has become a pursuit where they spend lots of time together bonding and working in harmony.
“It’s really nice,” he said of spending time with his father. “We get out every weekend and go roping.”
Rodeos are a family sport, Mark added.
Preparing for events such as doctoring and wild cow milking, which involve roping cows from horseback before taking them to the ground and tying up their legs, takes hours of practice.
Other rodeo events include barrel racing, a speed challenge where riders must circle their horses around stationary obstacles, and goat tying.
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Both father and son say the wild cow milking is their favourite event of the day, as Mark Thordarson described it as “exhilarating.”
Rodeos aren’t always pain-free for the riders. Earlier this summer Marshall was competing in Manitoba and was hoofed by a cow he was trying to subdue. He flew at least five feet in the air, he said.
At least two riders were thrown from their horses on Saturday and required medical attention, though none of the injuries were said to be severe.
The 123rd edition of the two-day fair wrapped up on Sunday with an abundance of sunshine and pleasant temperatures at the Murillo Fairgrounds.
Thousands of people poured through the gates, at times creating a lengthy line of traffic down Oliver Road. Organizers are hoping the total attendance tops last year’s figure of 5,000.
Those who made the trek out were treated to a wide variety of food vendors, live music and chariot races and the annual antique tractor parade.
Children were able to meet horses and other farm animals, as well as go on pony rides.
The fair, which is an agricultural exhibition, also handed out awards for livestock and produce.
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