“The Littlest Cowboys” portrait series captures a unique slice of Americana---a lifestyle that lives the sport. A chance invitation introduced me to my first rodeo and a world I previously thought was invented by television. It proved to be a rewarding experience. The children’s rodeo is brimming with a value system we associate with the best of our American heritage: courage, competition, physical stamina, triumph, defeat and sportsmanship. The sport pits its participants, people and animals against a task, the clock and each other. All of the images were shot over a two year period following the Northern California Jr. Rodeo circuit in the San Joaquin Valley southeast of San Francisco.

For this series I have told the story through portraiture. The negatives are printed full frame. When shooting, the time of day had to be ignored as did the dirt, heat and dust blowing everywhere. Every “Rule of Photography” I had ever learned went out the window.

Their portraits personify the lives these little cowboys and cowgirls live and the character they are developing. I came away from shooting this series with lifelong friends and a respect for those, of any age, who pursue the sport.

The "Littlest Cowboys" portrait series has been shown nationwide in solo and group shows. "The Horton Brothers"  was chosen by M. Fulton, chief curator of George Eastman House International Museum of Photography in Rochester, N.Y., inclusion in The Society for Contemporary Photography exhibit, Kansas City, Mo. "The Horton Brothers" photograph won the California Gold Award for Photography by "Art In California" magazine, juried by Trudy Wilner Stack from the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Az., and was chosen for a Merit Award by Art Rogers, Artisians Gallery, Mill Valley, Ca. The portrait “The Horton Brothers” was chosen in 2015 for inclusion in the Exposure Award Book, The Black and White Collection, 151 images selected from submissions from 181 countries.

Prints for purchase, image size  7.25 x 10.5 printed on 9”x12 luster paper signed and unframed $75 each Contact me at for ordering I can take Paypal, Applepay or check.


© Susan S. Barmon 2023