As good as it gets | TheFencePost.com

As good as it gets

It started in 2002, when my wife encouraged me to submit a few cowboy poems and short stories to the Fence Post. Surprisingly, the magazine wanted to publish them and a friendly working relationship was born. Although I am a relative newcomer to the three decades of country, rural, western and agricultural perspective they have made available to thousands of people every week, it’s been great to be invited along for the ride.

After a number of smaller items in print, I decided to take the plunge of putting together a full-fledged feature article with photography. It was 2003 and the Elizabeth Stampede rodeo was coming up quick on the calendar. Making sure to gauge the Fence Post’s interest in the story first, I grabbed an old film camera and headed out early to get behind the scenes at the small rodeo with a big reputation. After interviewing tons of people and going through four or five rolls of film, an addiction to event coverage was born. I blame the Fence Post.

Feeding the addiction required switching from film to the digital world, since taking over 1,000 photos per event had real potential to break the budget. No matter what direction I moved, the Fence Post was happy to oblige and cheer me along in the process. Positive feedback is a good thing for a writer/photographer and it was never in short supply with the good folks making each and every weekly issue possible. There was, and is, a satisfaction in seeing the time, sweat and creative effort pay off in feature pieces or cover photos. It never gets old.

One of my favorite events to cover over the years of sending stories to the Fence Post has to be the 100th Anniversary of the National Western Stock Show. Everyone was thrilled to be a part of the celebration and every facet of the show was well planned and exciting. From the live orchestra playing during rodeo performances to paying special attention to small details throughout all the barns, you knew you were a part of history each day you spent on the grounds.

Another high note in providing coverage was an opportunity to file a story from a trip to historic San Antonio, Texas. Walking the hallowed grounds of the Alamo or absorbing the magnificent architecture of 300-400 year old Spanish Missions, with the idea of sharing the experience later with Fence Post readers, was a real treat. Knowing subscribers would be interested in the sights I was seeing made the entire excursion that much more enjoyable.

A recent great experience due to a working relationship with the Fence Post was having the privilege of judging a Dutch Oven Cook Off contest at the historic Deer Trail rodeo. Event organizers and participants were happy to have the Fence Post represented and the people involved were a pleasure to meet. Making new friends and having memorable conversations, along with eating heaps of some of the best food on the planet, is always a plus in my book.

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Places and events are one thing, but people are altogether different. The people I’ve had the pleasure to meet and interview during the process of putting together stories, thanks to the Fence Post, have been amazing. Names like Harry Vold, Jim Shoulders, Larry Mahan, Kristi Peterson, Dan Mortenson, Billy Etbauer, Craig Cameron, Richard Shrake … the list is endless. Other than writing and photographing for this magazine, those meetings and conversations might never have taken place.

In summary, the pleased expressions on faces over the years of doing a story or taking photos for the Fence Post is one of the best parts of representing this long standing magazine. Being associated with a team of people responsible for 30 years of focusing on the positive sides of the western and rural way of life is just about as good as it gets.

It started in 2002, when my wife encouraged me to submit a few cowboy poems and short stories to the Fence Post. Surprisingly, the magazine wanted to publish them and a friendly working relationship was born. Although I am a relative newcomer to the three decades of country, rural, western and agricultural perspective they have made available to thousands of people every week, it’s been great to be invited along for the ride.

After a number of smaller items in print, I decided to take the plunge of putting together a full-fledged feature article with photography. It was 2003 and the Elizabeth Stampede rodeo was coming up quick on the calendar. Making sure to gauge the Fence Post’s interest in the story first, I grabbed an old film camera and headed out early to get behind the scenes at the small rodeo with a big reputation. After interviewing tons of people and going through four or five rolls of film, an addiction to event coverage was born. I blame the Fence Post.

Feeding the addiction required switching from film to the digital world, since taking over 1,000 photos per event had real potential to break the budget. No matter what direction I moved, the Fence Post was happy to oblige and cheer me along in the process. Positive feedback is a good thing for a writer/photographer and it was never in short supply with the good folks making each and every weekly issue possible. There was, and is, a satisfaction in seeing the time, sweat and creative effort pay off in feature pieces or cover photos. It never gets old.

One of my favorite events to cover over the years of sending stories to the Fence Post has to be the 100th Anniversary of the National Western Stock Show. Everyone was thrilled to be a part of the celebration and every facet of the show was well planned and exciting. From the live orchestra playing during rodeo performances to paying special attention to small details throughout all the barns, you knew you were a part of history each day you spent on the grounds.

Another high note in providing coverage was an opportunity to file a story from a trip to historic San Antonio, Texas. Walking the hallowed grounds of the Alamo or absorbing the magnificent architecture of 300-400 year old Spanish Missions, with the idea of sharing the experience later with Fence Post readers, was a real treat. Knowing subscribers would be interested in the sights I was seeing made the entire excursion that much more enjoyable.

A recent great experience due to a working relationship with the Fence Post was having the privilege of judging a Dutch Oven Cook Off contest at the historic Deer Trail rodeo. Event organizers and participants were happy to have the Fence Post represented and the people involved were a pleasure to meet. Making new friends and having memorable conversations, along with eating heaps of some of the best food on the planet, is always a plus in my book.

Places and events are one thing, but people are altogether different. The people I’ve had the pleasure to meet and interview during the process of putting together stories, thanks to the Fence Post, have been amazing. Names like Harry Vold, Jim Shoulders, Larry Mahan, Kristi Peterson, Dan Mortenson, Billy Etbauer, Craig Cameron, Richard Shrake … the list is endless. Other than writing and photographing for this magazine, those meetings and conversations might never have taken place.

In summary, the pleased expressions on faces over the years of doing a story or taking photos for the Fence Post is one of the best parts of representing this long standing magazine. Being associated with a team of people responsible for 30 years of focusing on the positive sides of the western and rural way of life is just about as good as it gets.