Deep faith and rough rides – life at an evangelical rodeo Bible camp
‘There’s a warrior spirit in us.’
Located near the small western Oklahoma city of Sayre, the Camp of Champions is an evangelical Christian rodeo Bible camp for ages six to 17. The short documentary Beast of Man follows the all-boys version of the three-day event from set-up to completion, as attendees of varying levels of experience arrive with their parents, pray for their own safety, absorb fervent sermons, and learn how best to handle sitting atop a large, unruly bull – an activity in which some form of injury is nearly always unavoidable, prayers or not. Using a discreet observational style, the US directors Christopher K Walker and Michael Beach Nichols artfully synthesise themes of faith, sport and masculinity into a subtle and thoughtful portrait that probes but doesn’t judge.