The best thing about shooting every rodeo performance after the first one is the new deadlines set for us. By that I mean I don't have to transmit photos back to the office as soon as I normally would. I get to shoot the entire performance from here on out without the added pressure of wondering if the Internet connection is going to crap out on me when I need it most.
With that weight off my shoulders, I was able to just sit and enjoy that performance just like any other fan with the added bonus of getting to take photographs in some pretty prime spots around the arena. My favorite spot to shoot from in the Coliseum is at ground level. There is a small opening on either side of the arena floor underneath the seating area that's perfect for taking photos. The first night I shot the first three events (bull riding, steer wrestling and bareback) from this spot. I was short on time to make pictures so I didn't want to move around a whole lot and risk missing something. But, for the second performance last night, time wasn't an issue so I moved around quite a bit.
I think I probably over-exerted myself last night by trying to move around too much. I guess I was just too excited about having all the time I wanted to make photos that I tried moving locations for every event. I think I'll stick to floor level for most of them in the future. Espescially when it's time for mutton bustin'. For those of you who have never been to a rodeo or county fair before, allow me to enlighten you. The great sport of mutton bustin' is when we strap our small children to barnyard animals and call it a good time. Get you heads out of the gutter people and listen up.
At every performance parents can sign their kids up to see who can hold on the longest to a sheep as they run about the arena floor. Aside from a high-scoring bull ride, mutton bustin' is just about the best thing to happen to the sport of rodeo. I'm trying to imagine how the conversation goes:
Parent: "Hey kiddo, you want be in the rodeo?"
Kid: "Yeah, that sounds like fun!"
Parent: "Great, put on this crash helmet and flak jacket."
Kid: "What's with those sheep?"
So, as you can see mutton bustin' can be quite entertaining. The kids grab as much fleece as they can and hang on for as long as possible. And to the victor go the spoils. In order for the winner, if it's a boy, to get their trophy, he has to kiss a Rodeo Ambassador on the lips. On this night, the winner was Tayte Cormier, the Ambassador was Shaylee Thomas.
After the mutton bustin' the rodeo resumed with it's normal routine with more bulls and horses. What a relief it was to have the whole rodeo to shoot. After the event, I headed out to transmit photos back to the office and to go to another assignment. I'd like to say that the last assignment was as much fun as the rodeo, but not every job we do ranks high up on the awesomeness meter.
I will be taking a break from the next few rodeo performances dues to some much needed time off, playoff basketball and an important assignment that I am working on with a fellow reporter that may have us out of town for a few days. More to come....