Have you ever experienced different aspects of your life colliding together in one big event? Photographing the Gilbert Days Rodeo weekend is such an event for me!
This is my fifth year donating photography for the three rodeo performances at the John Volken Academy Ranch for addiction recovery. This event combines my love for photography, my family heritage in rodeo and western entertainment, my six years of service on the board of directors for the John Volken Academy, and my 12 years as a member of the Cowgirls Historical Foundation who perform every year in the three rodeo performances.
The knees of my jeans are typically caked with arena dirt by the end of the rodeo and I love it! I try and shoot from positions that allow the viewer to get a view of the rodeo they might not normally see. So I’m usually kneeling in the dirt behind a rail, balancing on top of the rail to be eye level with the riders, or standing inside the arena trying to avoid getting run over. I also spend time behind the chutes as the cowboys get ready to ride and outside the reach of flying bull snot…haha!
After coming home with almost 2,000 photos it was difficult to edit them down to only 100. But I hope you enjoy this glimpse into the sport of rodeo that is part of our American culture with roots reaching back to the sixteenth century. If you would like to learn more about the war on addiction being won at the John Volken Academy Ranch you can visit volken.org.