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Rob Sullivan

Rodeo Retail

Posted from: Altamira

We've just spent two weeks filming in Altamira, a cattle and logging town on the Xingu river. The day before leaving we had the afternoon off and we set out on a group shopping trip, making an instant beeline for the best cowboy shop in town. The shop had a full size plastic horse on the pavement outside and inside was packed from floor to ceiling with everything you need for life out on the range. The shelves were brimming with stirrups, spurs, lassos, saddlebags, chaps, boots, hats and buckles and the whole place had a comforting smell of dust, leather and polish.

Though none of us have much practical use for any of this stuff we couldn't resist a bit of retail therapy after two weeks of solid work and we got stuck in. We all bought hats for starters, then I bought full cowboy outfits for my kids: proper mini leather boots, hats and little suede chaps and waistcoats, complete with tassles and silver buckles.

But the prize for best buy of the day must go to Bruce who splashed out on not just one, but two, amazing hand-made leather saddles. These are the Rolls Royce of the saddle world, with beautiful stitching, leather stirrups, and a large ornate knob at the front for the lasso. Bruce doesn't own a horse yet, though he's getting keen after our time filming with the cowboys, so for now they're destined to become bar stools at his farmhouse in Ibiza!

Having spent a good couple of hours in the shop and also got through quite a bit of cash between us, we got quite friendly with the owner, a real-life rodeo champ who, as Keith pointed out, looked uncannily like Bobby Ewing from Dallas. He seemed to have heard this comparison before and coolly tried to play it down by diverting our attention to photos of him on the wall winning the local rodeo.

So now, as well as about 30 cases of filming equipment, generator, kit bags and camping gear, we are also carrying around two full-size saddles and various other bags full of cowboy paraphernalia. But there's nothing like a few souvenirs and a pleasant afternoon off to keep us all in good spirits as we head off for a 12-hour drive down the dusty Transamazonica Highway on the next part of our journey.

Find out more about cowboys and land-grab


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