My childhood feels incomplete

mutton busting

This is mutton busting. It apparently happens at rodeos and children suit up in hockey helmets and hold on to a sheep for dear life. Sort of like the first step leading to bull riding.

Now, I don’t know this because I’ve experienced it. I know this because I have deductive skills and I looked closely at the photo.

I discovered this ‘sport’ in the most unusual places. I found it on the Sartorialist blog*. I would post the actual photo that they posted, but I’m terrified of their little copywrite warning and despite working in publishing, I still don’t full understand how all that legal stuff works.

Finding such an absurd photo on such a blog just made my day. I laughed for a solid 5 minutes and shared the photo with some choice friends. In fact, that is how I found out it’s called “mutton busting.” A good friend from the depths of the Prairies was familiar with this strange little sporting event. unfortunately, she has never participated in a mutton busting competition.  If she had been a past mutton buster, I could have provided you** with a full interview of her experiences with this highly lucrative sport (I made that up, I have no idea if it’s lucrative, but I’d guess that it’s not).

Either way, now that I know that such a sport exists, I feel like I was cheated out of an important part of childhood. Every child should have an opportunity to bust some mutton and alas, I did not.

Now, if only I could find a really large sheep, I may be able to fulfill this new found childhood fantasy.

*Please don’t think that I read this blog because I am fashionable. In fact, I read the blog because every once in a while it provides endless entertainment for my coworkers and I to play the game: man or woman?

**I do realize that at this point, there probably isn’t anyone reading this (except for my friend Erin from Down the Rabbit Hole, hi Erin!). But, maybe, just maybe, people will eventually read this and I will no longer be talking to myself.

Now for your enjoyment: more mutton busting photos (from websites with much less scary copywrite rules).

This first guy is doing really well. I hope he won.

mutton busting 2

Next we have a very determined boy. I don’t know what happened after this, but I suspect the mutton won.

mutton busting 3

Finally as a parting shot, we have another really determined little guy on a seemingly calm and relaxed sheep.

mutton busting 5

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9 Responses to “My childhood feels incomplete”


  1. 1 ehwhatsthis November 18, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Oh I do love that sport! I’ve seen it a few times, the adults, but normally a few kids get in on it at the Orono Fair.

    Also HI!

  2. 5 Laura November 16, 2009 at 1:51 am

    OMG! I grew up a 4H kid, and have been around rodeos, but have never witnessed this phenomenon.

    I had to find a video. There are plenty on YouTube, but as much as this sport evokes shock and awe and giggles, I simply can’t mock it. I can’t laugh at a little kid falling off a sheep. It’s cruel. They have very frail little egos, and I’d hate to make fun of the courage it takes for them to get out there and give it their best.

    • 6 clairesuzanne November 16, 2009 at 3:10 am

      I must confess. I never would have had the guts to do this when I was that age.

      Heck. I wouldn’t have the guts to do this now, even if they did find me a porportionately large sheep.

  3. 7 Erin November 13, 2009 at 1:16 am

    I wonder if the mutton busting skill has something to do with the length of the sheep’s hair?

    • 8 clairesuzanne November 13, 2009 at 2:22 am

      I would think so. I bet the longer the wool is the easier it is to hold on. I imagine the little guy on that sheep with the closely cropped ‘do is having a tough go at it.


  1. 1 The Best of 2009: Blog Find « Down the Rabbit Hole Trackback on December 7, 2009 at 12:07 am
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I'm Claire. I like to write about ridiculous things.

I love chocolate but don't think cheese and cake belong together.

I often wish it was socially acceptable to wear glitter before 10pm.

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