Red Bluff Round-Up week is something I look forward to all year. Early morning timed-event slack means great light, the Wild Ride makes for pictures unavailable anywhere else, the top cowboys and cowgirls in the world brings demand for the pictures, and a committee/staff who truly understand that better access leads to better pictures and better pictures lead to more coverage and a higher profile for the event. Take notes.
This year, my girlfriend and I arrived on Tuesday for the media lunch at the Growney Brothers ranch and the opening reception of my rodeo photography gallery show at The Big Picture in downtown Red Bluff. We met a lot of great people I had previously known only on Facebook, and caught up with some old friends I only get to see once per year.
Early on Wednesday I got to work shooting timed event slack. The arena and pens at Red Bluff are really big, and allow for a lot of behind the scenes pictures.
Tie-down roper Cody Collins of Galt, CA prepares for his turn.
Tie-down roper Russel Cardoza of Terrebonne, OR prepares for his turn during slack.
And the 8am light is just beautiful:
Tie-down roper Matt Shiozawa of Pocatello, ID competes during slack.
Tie-down roper JoeBob Pirie of Thompsons, TX competes during slack.
Barrel racer Heather Heard of Pacific Grove, CA competes during slack.
Barrel racer Lauren Crivier of Acton, CA competes during slack.
Barrel racer Rylee McKenzie of St. Paul, AB competes during slack.
Barrel racer Kelli Tolbert of Hooper, UT
Friday’s performance starts at 7pm which means that there is very little daylight before the less-than-stellar arena lighting takes over. Some more behind-the-scenes pictures:
Bareback rider Blaine Davies prepares his rigging.
Saddle bronc rider Rusty Allen of Eagle Mountain, UT prepares his saddle.
But just before sunset, I got these pictures of tie-down ropers in action:
Tie-down roper Stran Smith of Childress, TX throws his rope.
Tie-down roper Cameron Elston of Ramona, CA rides out of the box.
After nightfall, it’s truly too dark to get quality action pictures, but there’s plenty of light for this one:
Saddle bronc rider Andrew Counts of Stephenville, TX prepares to ride Smokey Day.
With the night perf out of the way, light was abundant on Saturday and Sunday:
Bareback rider Bobby Mote of Culver, OR stretches before his ride.
Bull rider Cody Rostockyj of Hillsboro, TX relaxes before his ride.
For the first time since Salinas last year, I got to break out my fisheye on a pole to get my camera into the arena even as I am not allowed in:
Saddle bronc rider Brady Nicholes of Hoytsville, UT rides Huckleberry.
Saddle bronc rider Ad Bugenig of Ferndale, CA rides Against All Odds.
Saddle bronc rider Rusty Allen of Eagle Mountain, UT rides Cruel Intentions.
Some longer roughstock pictures:
Bareback rider Matthew Smith of Clinton, MS rides Blackhawk Blaze.
Bull rider Wesley Silcox of Santaquin, UT gets bucked off Wildly Legit.
Bareback rider Buck Lunak of Cut Bank, MT rides Wild & Blue.
Saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy of Corona, NM rides Cornerstone Bank.
Bull rider Jacob Tyner of Sacramento, CA rides Night Train.
And then of course, it’s The Wild Ride, the most insane rodeo event anywhere:
Jesse Kruse of Great Falls, MT dressed as Kermit the Frog.
Alex Wright of Milford, UT dressed as a hilbilly bride.
JC DeSaveur or Roberts, MT dressed as Where's Waldo
Merritt Smith of Gilette, WY dressed as Marilyn Monroe
Mert Bradshaw of Eagle Point, OR dressed as Toddlers & Tiaras
Thanks to everyone who made Jacq and I feel so welcome in Red Bluff. Special thanks to Round-Up committee president Dave Ramelli, Mike Dudley, and Tonya Redamonti, and Kris & Tim Lamkin for making sure I was in a position to get the pictures. I’m already counting down to 2013.
Some early clips in the form of an unprecedented run of four Sports Illustrated Photos of the Day in a row:
Tie-down roper JoeBob Pirie of Thompsons, TX on Sports Illustrated's Photos of the Day for April 19, 2012
Barrel racer Rylee McKenzie of St. Paul, AB on Sports Illustrated's Photos of the Day for April 20, 2012
Saddle bronc rider Ad Bugenig of Ferndale, CA on Against All Odds on Sports Illustrated's Photos of the Day for April 21, 2012
Jesse Kruse of Great Falls, MT dressed as Kermit the Frog in the Wild Ride on Sports Illustrated's Photos of the Day for April 22, 2012