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Photo of Clinton Sweet on a buckin' bronco
Clinton Sweet on a buckin' bronc, Fort Ransom Arena, mid 1990s

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Fort Ransom Sodbusters Association: Pioneer Life
A Local Legacy

If you've ever wondered what it would have been like to live on a farm in the early 1900s, you could get a good idea by going to Sodbuster Days, a two-day event held at Fort Ransom State Park in North Dakota.

The Fort Ransom Sodbusters Association, an organization that celebrates and preserves pioneer life in Fort Ransom, North Dakota, organizes Sodbuster Days and an annual rodeo.

During Sodbuster Days visitors can see what farm life was like before electricity. They can watch demonstrations of elevating grain, sawing wood, grinding corn, and pumping water. They can also watch blacksmiths at work and see how a rim is put on a wagon wheel. Traditional arts, crafts and foods from pioneer life are also exhibited. Visitors can learn about quilting and soap-making.

In the rodeo, cowboys and cowgirls participate in calf roping, bull or bronco riding, and steer wrestling. In calf roping, the contestant has to rope up three of a calf's feet as fast as he or she can. In the riding events, one has to stay on the bull or bronco (an "unbroken" horse that resists training and bucks, or throws, its rider) for eight seconds. That's what the rider in the photograph is attempting to do!

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