19
Jun
09

Dustiest. Assignment. Ever. — The Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive

Also the coolest assignment ever!  This week, the famous Reno Rodeo, billed as the “Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West,” will begin and last for a week.  Each year, before the rodeo, they have the Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive.  Guess which lucky intern got to go?  I think I am destined to shoot 18th century reenactment events as this was the third one in 2 months…

This is the authentic thing.  Paying guests from around the country (and sometimes world) get on horses for five days and drive 300 head of cattle almost 100 miles across the high desert just northeast of Reno.  Eventually, they will pull into town and drive the cattle down city streets into the Livestock Events Center where the rodeo is held.  ESPN did an article on it a few months ago that is interesting

I was lucky enough to join them for a couple of days and take pictures for the paper.  I was given a horse and pretty much free reign over where I wanted to go.  As with every other 1800’s-themed event I have been to, the staff and guests could not have been more accommodating and friendly to me.

I gave up on trying to keep the dust off of my camera about 30 seconds into the ride.  I just accepted my camera’s fate, didn’t change lenses, and booked a date with a box of Q-Tips and rubbing alcohol later this week.  As you will see from the photos below, it was DAMN dusty.  At least when we got to camp, we had basically a gourmet meal and showers.

I also learned that it is pretty hard to control a horse AND take pictures AND gather audio all at the same time.  Especially a horse that has a herd mentality firmly ingrained in its mind and won’t turn in the opposite direction so I could easily take photos.  Below is the audio slideshow I put together for the paper and a few of my favorite images.  If I had more time, I probably would have done a few things differently with the slideshow, but I am happy with the way it turned out on a short turnaround time.

After riding 20 miles on a horse, my body hurts in ways I never knew it could.  Time to make friends with a bottle of Tylenol.

And a couple of pictures….

Reno Rodeo Cattle DriveCattle drive guests work in teams to help move a herd of about 300 cattle over a hill in the high desert northeast of Reno, NV Tuesday, June 16, 2009. The approximately 60 mile journey will eventually take the guests and cattle down Sutro Street and into the Reno Livestock Events Center on Thursday.

Reno Rodeo Cattle DriveReno Rodeo Cattle Drive guests make the final push down the hill into camp at Hungry Valley northeast of Reno Tuesday, June 16, 2009.

Reno Rodeo Cattle DriveCrew members load bails of alfalfa onto a truck to feed horses and cows Tuesday at the Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive.  The cattle drive requires a crew of over 60 people to cook, set up camp, feed livestock, help guests, and ensure the smooth running of the drive.

Reno Rodeo Cattle DriveWrangler Boss Randy Bell washes off a day’s worth of dust and gets comfortable in a water bin usually reserved for watering livestock.  “This is how cowboys take baths,” he said.

Reno Rodeo Cattle DriveClaire Simpson, a cancer survivor and member of the Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive’s “Team Pink,” sits by the campfire and listens to live music from cowboy entertainer Dave Stamey Tuesday evening, June 16, 2009.  This is Simpson’s second year at the cattle drive and she is already planning on attending next year. “When you experience it, it gets in your blood and you don’t want the drive to end,” she said.

Reno Rodeo Cattle DriveGeno Higman, a camp helper, winds down next to the campfire after a day’s work and listens to live music from Dave Stamey Tuesday evening on the Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive.


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4 Responses to “Dustiest. Assignment. Ever. — The Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive”


  1. 1 Gladstone
    June 19, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    What a cool assignment!!!!
    Love that top shot the most.

  2. June 29, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    coolest. assignment. ever.

  3. July 7, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Ditto Gladstone’s comments. That top shot is sweet! Great assignment!

  4. July 11, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    nice… good multimedia piece!


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