I grew up in Walla Walla Washington as an only child raised by my mother and step-dad, who did the best they could with what they had. When I was 5 we moved out to a small farm. This resulted in me being blessed to have some amazing people and families in my life who considered me one of their own. I was added to the list of grandkids that my (new) Grandpa and Grandma loaded up for trips to the mountains of Eastern Washington on horses and pack-mules. We rode in a rickety old pick-up with a home-made canopy. Grandpa figured “if the canopy was good enough for horses, it was good enough for kids too”. The trailer he pulled with the rest of the horses, mules and tack was equally rickety - but we survived, and loved every second of it.
Grandpa’s legacy was carried on through his sons, one of which became a father-figure to me. He was a Champion Endurance Rider, Bull Rider, and Mentor. He taught me to ride bulls, and gave me a passion for Rodeo and the desire to become a World Champion Bull Rider. His sons became my brothers, and his wife a mom who is still my biggest fan and supporter today.
In order to support my Rodeo expenses, I worked for a Horse Trainer all through high school and college until I left for the US Army. He trained Cutting Horses and Team Roped with his son, and his wife ran barrels. And I was again blessed to be considered a part of this cowboy family, with Equine siblings.
In 1992 I tore my bicep tendon on the last bull I ever got on. Thinking this to be the end of my bull riding was a hard pill to swallow. I completely turned away from rodeo and could not even watch a Bull Riding on TV.
But my love for horses was still strong. I bought my first camera in 1994, and captured an image by sheer luck that stirred up what grew into a passion. My ex-wife had the “eye”, and I was the “technical” one. My “self-teaching” method with film helped me really learn photography (the hard way). I stopped shooting for about 4 years, and then purchased my first digital camera. When my images where seen by a friend I use to Rodeo with, she encouraged me to shoot a rodeo. This resulted in an awakening of my passion for Rodeo/Equine events and Country Lifestyle. With the combining of my passions (Photography, Horses, and Rodeo), I feel at “home”.