By far the most-strapped cowboys are the ones who compete in events such as calf-roping -- like these at the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo in Santa Maria, Calif. -- who must haul their own horses. Some cowboys are rodeo ride-sharing, with half a dozen cowpokes cramming into a truck and splitting fuel bills. Rodeos are feeling the gas crisis, with fewer cowboys able to spend the thousands of dollars needed to haul horses and gear from one arena to the next. The annual Santa Maria rodeo featured about 150 competitors -- 20% fewer than usual.
Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times
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