This is the first in a series of posts looking at what it takes to prepare for and shoot the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
When shooting on a deadline, it’s always best to get as much work as possible out of the way in advance. One of the easiest things to accomplish beforehand is setting up IPTC metadata and code replacements for captions. Regular season rodeos are challenging because it’s not possible to know exactly who is competing or what bull/horse they draw until the day sheet comes out just before the rodeo. College and pro sports are easy because rosters and numbers are available online. The WNFR is more like mainstream sports because qualifiers became official and are posted on October 1, two months before the rodeo starts. Based on this information, I was able to fill out placeholder captions for every WNFR contestant for each of the 10 days of the rodeo. An example for timed events:
Team roper Trevor Brazile of Decatur, TX records a time of in the first round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV.
After the round I can fill in the time, copy/paste it into the caption field and be done.
It works a bit differently for roughstock events:
Bareback rider Kaycee Feild of Payson, UT rides of for points in the first round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV.
The day before each round, the stock draw is posted, so I can update the captions day-by with the horse or bull, stock contractor, and then add the score after the round.
I also have a code replacement that looks like this for place (first-sixth) and the corresponding money won per round that will be inserted after the time/score:
and a first place check worth $18,629.81
So there’s a bare minimum of typing that needs to be done on deadline.
During the rodeo I will either use the voice memo feature on the camera or shoot the scoreboard to make sure I have IDs for everything. Since my deadline assignments are for Spin to Win Rodeo and Barrel Horse News, I will flag pictures of the money winners in the roping and barrel racing so I can download and edit those first. If anything out of the ordinary happens in the other events I’ll get those onto the wire as soon as possible for national exposure. The last thing I’ll do directly after each round is pull pictures for my commercial clients to use on social media. When I get back to the hotel, I’ll make two full backup copies and be done for the night.
*Next up: Going “Training Ground” on my own pictures from the 2010 & 2011 WNFRs to see what works, what didn’t, and begin to make a shooting plan for this year.
*Please Read Below*
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