I announced a month or so ago about my plans to retire from rodeo with the occasional chance of photographing hometown rodeos or local ones. It was a very hard decision to make because rodeo photography is a large part of what made me the photographer I am today.
Rodeo photography was something I dedicated a decade too. Something that came out the blue to me when I started as a portrait photographer.. I love rodeo, I love the friends I made, and I love the challenge of the photographic work. And I was and am ready for a new phase of photography stepping back from rodeo.
My last rodeo was September 18th and it really didn’t hit me that I was semi-retired until the 22nd. My friend posted the video honoring the mount that gave him his career and 13 years of shows and announced his and his horses retirement as he pursues his educational dreams. It became real then, we had started our careers together, grew together, and decided to step onto new paths around the same time.
When I think of next year it is hard not imagining life on the road between rodeos. It is hard not figuring rodeos into my schedule and it is harder realizing those are gaps in my schedule that will now need filled. 2019 started with the goal of publishing my rodeo book, heading to Alaska, and surviving rodeo season. That was all I had planned, the immediacy of 2019, I hadn’t had much time to give 2020 though or to do the prep for next year.
That prep time is now here and that initial panic when you step off the well worn path into the unknown is relatively fresh. That fear of failure strong enough to make you question your choices. I have many goals and even a few ideas I am just toying with— one being graduate school. The joy of doing this as a younger adult gives me room for failure and plenty of years to fail and grow and fail and grow.
Here’s to the next chapter!