College Rodeo - The People

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Back in August, I decided to take on an area of photography that I had never really seriously thought about until then; rodeo. I specifically decided to take on capturing the Canadian Intercollegiate Rodeo Association or CIRA for the entire school year, after having a great conversation with Pro Rodeo Canada's photographer, Mike Copeman. Mike has been photographing rodeo for over 20 years and has taught me a ton in the last 6 months in any area of knowledge that a rodeo photographer may need to know.

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When I was packing to go to the first rodeo down in Olds, Alberta, over the weekend of September 9 & 10, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was to dress western, make sure I had my gear and double check where I was and wasn't allowed to be. My background of growing up on a cattle ranch has taught me at least some common sense on where to be when livestock are involved, so was able to work out with the coaches and officials where I would be able to be, fairly easily. From then on, it has become a whirlwind of getting to know the different arena's, testing various equipment, learning everyone's names, keeping up with the fast-paced events and post-processing that it all creates. Even though my life has become a crazy whirlwind of school, work and rodeo, I would not change it if I could.

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Photographing this group of amazing people has reminded me of why I love the western and country lifestyle. Even though they are technically competing against each other, they never fail to lend a hand, give each other feedback, and a pat on the back when things don't go right. The people who live this lifestyle may sometimes be miles apart, but they will do whatever they possibly can to help each other, whether that is a laugh, a tow, a hand up from the mud or a drink. This group of people may be known to be a little louder when they do get to finally relax, but that is only to make up for the hours of hard work that they put into every other hour of the day.

Not only have this crew of hard-working college kids reminded me of the joy of working with livestock, but they have helped me push my research, business and equipment to limits that I would never have guessed I could in this short of a time. They have also reminded me of the welcoming community that they are. Slowly getting to know them has been an amazing part of the weekends. I cannot wait to see where all of us will be when it gets to the end of this season!

Safe travels to everyone until we all meet again down the road at the next event!