I hate it when a project is going along smoothly, and then… BOOM. The bottom drops out.
I was sitting the saddle of my riding lawnmower and cruising the easements between our property and the neighbors. It was a nice evening and the grass was cutting well and then… BOOM!
The deck drive belts that propel the blades gave up the ghost. One belt blew out and the other was in bad shape. The original manufacturer belts were made of kevlar, so they lasted almost 20 years. I really can’t complain about that, but the easements with their strips of long grass looked like a 5-year-old got hold of a pair of scissors and cut his own hair. And I had to leave them like that.
I’ve performed most of the maintenance on our riding lawnmower myself, but I’ve never had to replace the deck drive belts. First time for everything, right?
Yeah, well… it took a few days of figuring.
Figuring out where to get replacement belts for a decades old riding mower. Figuring out how to detach the mower deck and bring it out from under the mower. Figuring out how to replace the belts in the correct alignment. Figuring.
What should have been 3+ hours of a job well done turned into 3+ days, instead. It was my bad. I hadn’t been regularly checking the status of those drive belts on my riding mower. They had been doing just fine for about 20 years, so I took them for granted. If I had stopped to take time and examine them on a regular basis, I would have realized they weren’t in good shape.
Sometimes issues in life are just like that. We think things are going along smooth and then… BOOM. The bottom drops out. And most times, it is our bad. We didn’t stop and take time to examine the important things in our life. We took them for granted.
Maybe this mechanical issue with my riding lawnmower will remind me to stop on a regular basis and examine the more important things in my life. Like my relationships — with God, with my wife, and with my friends. Am I spending the time to keep those relationships in good shape?
Or will the bottom drop out?
God knows what the important things in life are, and exactly what we need. Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
As a photographer, I am not shooting a rodeo just for the cowboys and cowgirls. No siree.
I love photographing the animal athletes at least as much, if not more, than the contestants.
Just don’t tell the contestants I said that! 🙂
Summit Pro Rodeo Company always — and I mean A-L-W-A-Y-S — brings incredible animal athletes to the rodeos where they provide the stock. I know I will get great photographs when I see their name on the information sheets.
I love shooting the bucking broncs no matter if the cowboy is aboard or not!
Great to see ALL the athletes taking part in the 2021 Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo in Elizabeth, CO. There is a reason that small town rodeo has won so many awards. Summit Pro Rodeo Company is certainly a part of those reasons…
Those words sound almost mournful. The last remaining…
That means there used to be more, maybe even a plentiful supply.
But now there is one.
The last remaining Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard participated again in the 2021 Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo in Elizabeth, CO. If you appreciate having Old Glory honored with a bit of pomp and circumstance, you would love to see how these Marines ride in with the colors and present them for the singing of the National Anthem.
The 2021 Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo witnessed record crowds over the June 04-06 run of its bull riding and PRCA performances. For the the first time in its 56 years of history, all performances were sold out, including the standing room only areas. The vendors surrounding the outside of the arena grounds were pretty happy!
One thing has to be said. Without the constant and tireless efforts of 250+ volunteers throughout the year, the Elizabeth Stampede would not be the award winning event that it is. Hats off to the volunteers, committee members, and board members that make it possible every year, but who stepped up in 2021 and created a record-setting venue.
On a personal note, I have been covering the stampede for publication since the early 2000’s. After shooting tens of thousands of photos and interviewing hundreds of people during that time, I still had no idea how much I would miss being around all the quality people who make this rodeo so great until it was cancelled in 2020 and started back up again, this year. It almost felt like arriving to a reunion.
When you go to a rodeo, you know you will be entertained by the action inside the arena, but a good barrelman/rodeo clown can also light up the crowd.
The award winning Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo in Elizabeth, CO has a great funnyman in JW Winklepleck. He provides color and flair to every performance and doesn’t trot out the same stale jokes. He does a great job of helping the audience have an even better time at each performance.
In front of Saturday afternoon’s sold out crowd, Winklepleck determined to “start a new extreme sport of Arena Boarding.” With the assistance of an amused pickup man, Winklepleck boarded the arena sand behind the true meaning of horsepower.
I think it is against the law (okay… maybe not that extreme) to hold a rodeo without a rodeo queen in attendance!
2020 was a lost year for a lot of rodeos and, as a result, a lot of activity and work for the rodeo queens. Rodeo queens are great ambassadors for the sport, and they are involved in a lot of community service, as well.
But of course, taking part in the opening festivities of an award winning rodeo like the Elizabeth Stampede is a major part of what it is all about.
Miss Rodeo Colorado 2020-2021 — Hailey Frederiksen — is finally getting the chance to take part in all the activities she initially thought she would be doing in the year 2020.
I was finally able to get the new camera (Canon EOS 1Dx Mark III) out to some night rodeo action. First of all, it felt good to be taking action shots again. I love the challenge of action shooting.
First things first, though. A rodeo always has a patriotic National Anthem, and the 2021 Elizabeth Stampede’s XTreme Bulls did it right…
Once the sun goes down, it has often been a different story, as night time action can be a significant obstacle for me with my 14-year-old 1D Mark III camera. As you can imagine, I was eager to experience shooting with the new 1Dx Mark III.
It did not disappoint.
In the past, I had to leave a night rodeo when the sun went down. A lot of the outdoor arena lights are fine for watching a rodeo from the stands, but not for photography purposes. Just not enough light to support a fast enough shutter speed to capture the action. And my older EOS 1D just did not have the High ISO capability to bump the shutter speed and still have usable images.
As you can see from the above image, the new Canon EOS 1Dx Mark III allowed me to stay and shoot the bull riding action under the lights. While my older version had a usable ISO of about 2,500, the new 1Dx Mark III allowed me to shoot the bull riding with an ISO of 25,000 and still have usable photos to send to the magazine that will publish my coverage. It is a massive difference, and will boost my freelance capabilities by a significant amount.
A winning ride under the lights…
I am highly satisfied, so far, with the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark III’s capabilities and am looking forward to working over this coming weekend to put it through even more paces.
It was good to get back out and cover an event again!
The 2021 Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo kicked off its event this year with a Thursday night concert . Three country artists participated and the crowd was treated to some real talent in the form of Dillon Carmichael, Lainey Wilson, and Kameron Marlowe.
Getting out and photographing again felt great. Especially when the artists were under lights and fog…
Really looking forward to the upcoming rodeo action on Friday-Sunday!