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Turning Rodeo into Art

Former bull rider turned graphic artist designs rodeo program

Larry White, a former bull rider, has designed the cover for the Hamel Rodeo program every year since they began printing programs. The 2017 cover includes a bullfighter stepping around a bull.

Hamel, Minn. (June 26, 2017) – Larry White uses his career to help out with his former hobby.

The Delano man rode bulls for about five years while he was in his early twenties.

Now, in his career as a graphic artist, he helps the Hamel Rodeo with its posters and art designs.

Since the rodeo began putting together a rodeo program, White has designed the cover of it. He uses photos provided by rodeo photographer Dick Squire, a professional from Mendota Heights.

White grew up in Wayzata, graduating from Wayzata High School in 1976 and from the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul, which closed in 2013. Then his father was killed in a plane accident, and White was left at loose ends.

He was 24, not sure where his life was going, and he made some bad choices. “It was a turbulent time, and I was running in the wrong direction,” he said. “I was out there floating, not sure where I was going.” Then he began hanging around with some bull riders, friends who got him started riding bulls and who straightened him out. “That’s when I became involved with the rodeo guys. They changed my life. I had a little more structure in my life and decent friends. It was a good deal for me. It really helped me at that time.”

He began to learn graphic artistry on the computer, and for practice, designed the rodeo’s front cover.

Larry White and his family: wife Vicki and daughters Brittani and Lindsay, take in the Hamel Rodeo each year. The Delano man designs the rodeo’s program cover and is a former bull rider. Photo by Dick Squire.

Since then, he’s designed every single cover of the Hamel Rodeo program and helped with other art jobs they’ve had.

He and his wife Vicki and daughters Brittani and Lindsay never miss the rodeo, either. They sit oi the grandstands on the east side, close to the announcer’s stand. His business has grown, too. White Designs started as a sign business, hand painting and lettering and doing pin striping on motorcycles. Now it does artwork and websites for clients across the nation, from General Mills to businesses in California.

He loves helping out the rodeo. “I help them out whenever I can,” he said. “I know it’s a great community event and I can be part of it in some little way. It’s kind of fun.”

The Hamel Rodeo will be held at the Corcoran Lions Park July 6-9. Performances begin at 7:30 pm each night, with a Family Day matinee at 1 pm on July 8. Tickets start at $10 and are on sale online at www.HamelRodeo.org, at Pleasant Hills Saddle Shops, at the Farmers State Bank of Hamel, and at the gate.