It’s been a semester

A few changes…

Image result for location pinBurns, WY —Image result for location pinLaramie, WY—Image result for location pinCheyenne, WY
  • Wyoming – born and raised
  • Senior at University of Wyoming
  • Agriculture Communication Major
  • Agriculture Business and Public Relations Minor

Looking back:

Looking back at my first blog post was a shock nonetheless. I do not think that I got many things accomplished that I had expected to. This ended up being a bit different type of course than I had anticipated. While I do think that I got a brief taste of some things, I wish there had been more time to be able to elaborate in some areas. Realizing that individuals have strengths and weaknesses in a variety of areas, I think there is still some ability for improvement for each student in respected areas.

I think my first blog post demonstrated some interesting areas that I would still be willing to report on, however, my ideas seem to be a bit bigger than initially anticipated. With ample deadlines throughout the semester, reporting on governor candidates would be a challenge, though still a great topic.

Soft skills:

I do think that I gained some skills in this course including patience with new technology and programs, grit to finish projects I start that are not turning out how I expected as well as techniques for different kinds of media reporting. I enjoyed getting a taste of several media platforms and became very aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I have found areas I can grow in, those I’m not interested in as well as areas I hope to continue to build on.

Favorite:

My favorite assignment was the writing for the internet. I love bringing stories to life and being able to highlight individuals after interviewing them. I think there is a certain satisfaction of having someone read your work and see the ability to highlight another individual through words that I find fascinating. Having the opportunity to report on something that I am deeply interested in and get to know some of the college kids that are on the rodeo team was incredible.

I also enjoyed the video assignment. With both of these posts, I reported on something I was truly and deeply invested in. I think articles are great that you have to step outside of your comfort zone in order to complete, but I still think there is a certain sense of passion and quality that you feel in more personal projects than you would ones for work. Realizing this class is to prepare us for a job in this industry where we will likely not know, let alone ever even heard of many of the people we interview, I think there is something to take from projects you are personally invested in.

Not so favorite:

The assignment I enjoyed the lease was auditory story. I just couldn’t figure out the editing software as well as I wish I could’ve. I found it hard to find a person with an interesting enough story to report on without making it a complete dud with my lack of editing experience. I was interested in learning about this kind of reporting initially, but will likely go no further with it. Due to the struggles that I came across, it was not as entertaining for me when compared to other types of reporting.

Advice:

I would tell myself to literally prepare for a boot camp style in reviewing different kinds of media. I don’t think I took that as seriously as I should have when Dr. Landreville first told us that and I think I could’ve gained a bit more out of the class had I taken in every ounce of advice and information I had received on each unit.

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Video Project – Miss Frontier

Emily Breeden poses for her official head shot. Photo courtesy of Christine Kronz. 

Summary:

This video assignment takes a behind the scenes look at the preparations for the 2018 Cheyenne Frontier Days Coronation Ball. Since 1897 the Daddy of ‘Em all has been the World’s largest outdoor rodeo. This year we will be the 121st  celebration of Cheyenne Frontier Days. The Daddy may have started as a cowboy roundup to test their skills but today it’s about tradition, competition and buckskins. With the 2018 Cheyenne Frontier Days Coronation Ball just around the corner, we followed Miss Frontier 2018 Emily Breeden as she and her Lady in Waiting Halley Jankovsky  get ready for a photo shoot. The photo shoot took place at Emily’s house in Carpenter, WY. The Coronation Ball is a celebration to celebrate the current Miss Frontier as well and all the past Miss Frontier’s, this is another way to showcase the timeless buckskins that have come before.

Experience:

This project has been an absolute blast. I loved getting to be on the other side of things, especially the other side of a camera. The editing process was a bit challenging, but overall I enjoyed putting the pieces together. I think that it could still be improved, but as for a first project, I’d like to think this turned out okay. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this project, and look forward to using the skills I learned during this to continue to create other videos for different things.

Challenge:

One thing that surprised me was the editing process. We chose to use iMovie because we both have iPhones, however this posed a challenge as we then could not edit the video on a computer as neither of us have MacBooks. Getting everything just right on a phone screen posed a big challenge and as I stated above, I think there is some room for improvement. With that, I also think completely editing this video project from two different phone sources turned out to work the best for us and did not turn out terrible.

Future:

I have done video stories similar to this in the past and really found them to be enjoyable. I was excited to use newer technology to create this and it has been very obvious the difference in quality. I can most definitely see myself continuing these types of projects and building my skill set with video stories. I hope to continue to build my editing skills and begin to have better ideas of what footage exactly will best benefit my video.

Social Media Critique

For this blog post, I am critiquing the use of social media between two different organizations. I chose to explore the social media cites of two of my favorite rodeos, which happen to be two of the largest and most widely known among professional cowboys. The two I chose were my hometown rodeo, Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD) and the Pendleton Round Up in Pendleton, Oregon.

I chose to compare these two as over the last few years, it seems to come down to these particular rodeos competing for the Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year title. While this is voted on by the cowboys, it can be used as a major marketing tool for the events and sparking an interest in the public to attract more and more people to these rodeos each and every year. I have seen both of them first hand and while they are different in almost every single way, they have the same ultimate goal.

I found both organizations on every single type of media with the exception of snapchat. I think that because these events really only happen once a year for just a number of days, if they do have a snapchat, it is used specifically during that time to showcase different events in a different light.

I will begin with Facebook.

While I think that posting often is key, I think keeping in mind that the posts need to be relevant is imperative. Both posted often, nearly everyday and multiple times a day. I thought that the content on the Pendleton Round Up’s Facebook was a bit more relevant to current times. On the other hand, Frontier Days posted a lot more memes as opposed to current things happening with other things associated with CFD. Frontier Days did have a significantly higher number of “likes” on Facebook though, and you could see this reflected on the number of likes their individual posts received.

On Instagram, it seemed to be the same story. Frontier Days easily had more followers and their posts were more geared at humor and keeping a crowd engaged while the Round Up’s instagram was detail oriented in what was happening around them and their organization as a whole such as what was happening in their gift shop including new arrivals and give away’s. Knowing well that Frontier Days has a gift store, I was curious. It turns out that the CFD Gift Store social media outlets are run completely separately. I see the benefits of both sides, however, overall as an organization, I see the benefits from the store being posted directly to the Round Up’s social media regarding how many views they are likely getting based on the number of likes on those posts as opposed to the ones on the separate page that Frontier Day’s has.

While Facebook and Instagram were very active cites for both organizations, I was a little disappointed with their twitter accounts. Not knowing near as much about twitter as I do not spend a lot of time on it, their posts seem to be less personal to their respective organizations. Particularly on the Frontier Day’s twitter, there were several “retweets” most recently about the ACM’s. I see the advantage of this because they were retweeting the artists that will be in Cheyenne, this summer, I only knew this because I am very close to that organization. I think it would be harder for the outside public to make that connection. As for the Round Up, they just released the artist that will be at their big show on Friday. A vast majority of their recent tweets have been geared at the public encouraging them to guess who the act would be and on Friday, they announced it and have begun promoting it along with other events surrounding the Round Up itself.

This far, both organizations were both active on all cites until I began searching Pinterest. Frontier Days displayed a decently active page while the Round Up did not have a page. I am not as active on Pinterest, but did enjoy looking through the boards that Frontier Day’s had posted. According to the statistic on the top of the page, they receive over eight thousand views per month, which I thought was impressive.

Both organization had a LinkedIn profile, which I was shocked at. With this however, neither had been updated in a very long time. There was a fact error with the name of a particular area of Frontier Day’s. It was right at one time, but is not anymore as the name changed at least four years ago. The Round Up’s LinkedIn profile had nothing to show other than the fact that it was a company/organization at the top. I understand that the point of a LinkedIn is a bit different in comparison to other cites, however, particularly in the case of Frontier Days, if there is going to be a profile it needs to be updated regularly. With that, I also saw on other outlets that they are looking for two interns for the summer and I think that in order to maximize their opportunity to get the most qualified candidates, LinkedIn could be used in a much more effective manner to do so.

Across the board, I think their messages were clear. I think the brand management was definitely evident and used effectively in most instances. I think the message was a bit more consistent on the Round Up’s cites and more relevant specifically to what their purpose was. I think that all forms of social media used by Frontier Days were used effectively in relating to people outside of them and were used well to reach a far and distant crowd. Both used social media as marketing tools and that was clear in what they were posting as far as content and how frequently they had new posts.

Cheyenne Frontier Days:

Highlights

I think that their way of getting the attention of their audience was very effective. I think using relate-able memes to everyday life, but with picutres of rodeo events is a good way to enter the grey area between those involved in rodeo and those who are just spectators.

I think the frequency of their posts is spot on. With the event only being help for 10 days out of the year, the way to keep the crowd engaged through other outlets and keep people thinking about the event is crucial.

I loved that they were involved in all kinds of social media, not just one in particular. While they were easily more active on certain cites, I think the variety of pages makes them more reachable and aides in being more widely recognized.

What I might change

I enjoyed all of their posts and their focus on humor, however, I think that including all entities of CFD on their main page would benefit not only them but the other parts that help make CFD what it is.

I would like to see what the committee and the queens do year round, rather than just during the show. While the rodeo is just 10 days out of the year, those volunteers work tirelessly year round to make this even what it is and I believe the recognition would benefit both ways. It would highlight those putting in the work and let others that follow know that there is more to it than just the 10 days.

When doing extensive research, I found that their posts have recently become more frequent. Prior to now, it was not near as often. I would keep up the frequency of posts to keep users that “like” the page involved and informed.

 

Pentleton Round Up

Highlights

I loved that they included all parts of their organization on their pages. It was not just geared solely towards one thing and I think that really showed their ability to be unified.

I thought their content was very good and their posts were very effective in what each were accomplishing individually.

Having watched them on social media for a while, I love their way of being interactive through social media in doing giveaways during other events via their social media accounts, specifically instagram.

What I might change

The Round Up has significantly less followers than does Cheyenne Frontier Days. I would work on posts to catch the eye of an average person scrolling the internet to better connect and relate to them to build up the number of eyes seeing those posts.

While their messages were clear and concise, I think they could be a bit more marketable by wording things a little differently and really focusing on the target customer who would be reading the posts.

While they are very active on Facebook and Instagram, the other social media outlets are lacking a bit of attention. I am a firm believer that if you are going to have a cite, keeping it current is imperative.

Top places to travel as a rodeo queen (it’s only my opinion)

  1. My first suggested place to travel is Houston, Texas to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Not only is the an event to see in itself because of the venue (NRG Stadium), but the people you meet and incredible views they have. While I like to think I am a well traveled individual, I do not fair well on trains as a form of transportation in a big city such as Houston. We took a train to downtown and were not planning on getting off until the bus driver informed us that we had to. We made our way into the theater district, ended up at a play and met an elderly couple that were long time residents. Realizing it is highly frowned upon to get in strangers cars, we still did and now keep in contact with this couple. They were so impressed with our accomplishments through Cheyenne Frontier Days, they wanted to keep in touch to see where we would go in our future lives. I will say this, again and again, that while the title of Miss Frontier was incredible, the people we met were unmatched.  Emily Breeden, Nancy Reno and I on the shores in Houston, TX after a day at the rodeo.
  2. The people of Garden City, Kansas will give you the upmost hospitable experience you will receive. When I called, they were a bit confused as to why girls from Cheyenne would want to come to the Beef Empire Days rodeo. They welcomed us with open arms, provided us with equipment that we forgot and were there to do anything to help us along the way. These, again, are people that we still keep in touch with as we built such a close relationship with. “The town of Garden City was not what I expected honestly, but I couldn’t think of better people that were more willing to help us out and I couldn’t be more thankful for the time we spent down there,” Emily Breeden, Cheyenne Frontier Days Lady-in-Waiting, said.

Emily Breeden and I running cattle down the arena during the steer wrestling at slack for the Beef Empire Days Rodeo. Picture taken by Robb Anderson.

3. Santa Fe, New Mexico will make you sweat like you never have before, especially in a pair of buckskins. However, this rodeo is put on the world famous Harry Vold Rodeo Company and you will never find a more tasteful presentation for the sport of rodeo. In addition to the great production, the people were just like any other people you would come across in the rodeo world. “My favorite part of Santa Fe, besides the turquoise of course, was being a part of a Harry Vold production.” Breeden said. “I got the opportunity to go to Santa Fe as a dandy before Harry’s passing and you will never find a better production, honestly.”

Emily Breeden presents a sponsor flag during Rodeo De Santa Fe. Picture by Elaine Anderson.

 

4.While I chose this rodeo because I have family in Oklahoma, the Guymon Pioneer Days rodeo was fantastic. The arena and stands are set up in a unique, old fashioned setting and it’s just a bonus that they use the same announcer as Cheyenne Frontier Days. As a rodeo queen, you could not ask for a more hospitable crown and particularly as a “local queen,” this is a great opportunity to meet several of the current state queens.   Emily Breeden and I waving at the crowd for the Pioneer Days parade. Photo by Elaine Anderson.

5.Calgary truly lives up to its name as the greatest show on earth. You can’t beat standing on the concrete pad as the chuck wagons come racing around the corner time and time again. Not only do they have chuck wagon races, they bring their contestants into the rodeo arena by ZIP LINE. You will not find a cooler entrance by contestants. They have you on a tight and specific schedule when you are needed, however, there is still plenty of time to travel the great north. This typically is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I would highly recommend taking full advantage. “Calgary was easily one of my favorite trips,” Breeden said. It’s amazing to see how another rodeo the same calibur as CFD is produced.”Myself, along with Emily Breeden, walking across the big stage in Calgary, Alberta, Canada as we’re introduced to the crowd. Photo by Elaine Anderson.

6. Last, but CERTAINLY not least, Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming. While I may be biased, this is truly the greatest rodeo in the world. The venue is second to none, the volunteers are incredible and there is nothing like experiencing The Daddy of ‘Em All. “When I talk about CFD, I don’t feel forced to say it is the best because I truly believe that it is,” Breeden said. “The opportunity to race down that track in front of thousands is a feeling you won’t find anywhere else.”

Emily Breeden and I “fist bumping” before we make our entrance as Miss Frontier and Lady-in-Waiting during CFD. Photo by Pat Lewis.

 

 

 

Audio

 

My experience using an audio recorder ended up better than I had thought that it would. I have used an audio recorder before just to record interviews to insure quote accuracy, but I could definitely tell the difference in the setting with this interview.
I found the editing to be very challenging. My interview with Hunter took a couple of different turns and we went back and forth on different topics of her ranch and ended up on the same topic a number of times. Overall, I think that my final product could’ve been a bit better with more experience but for a first project, I didn’t mind it too much.
The surprise that I had was finding out how hard it is for humans to speak in full sentences to make the editing process a bit smoother. I ran into a couple of issues regarding editing and finding the right spots to stop but overall the assignment was very much what I expected.
I wish I had a bit more experience working with the editing piece of it. I found this to be easily the most challenging aspect.
I think I could use audio in the future as I want to work in the media field for an agriculture based organization such as RFDTV or the Wrangler Network in which there are several interviews recorded. There is a piece on the Wrangler Network about myself and the year that I was Miss Frontier for Cheyenne Frontier Days and they used a series of pictures with an audio recording behind it. I hope to be able to do something similar for my best friend who is the current Miss Frontier to showcase her year and her experience.

My attempt at photography

Photo one is my favorite place in the entire world. This place is Cheyenne Frontier Days. I have spent a lot of time in this arena both as a junior competitor and most recently Miss Frontier. This feature photo uses viewpoint and creates depth. Every year during in July, hundreds of horses will fill the backtrack and thousands will fill the grandstands. Throughout the other months, this is what the largest outdoor professional rodeo looks like. I found that focusing on the fence as opposed to the grandstands behind it to be challenging, but once I got it, became a very unique perspective.

I was driving around and found my way over to the only locally owned cement plant in Cheyenne, Morandin Concrete. I found this happy-go-lucky employee on a stroll through the yard where the concrete is made.  I think that his personality shines through in this portrait, although he is at the workplace. Photo three is of Blake Grogan who has worked for his family’s business since he was in high school and is hoping to take it over once his mom and aunt retire. I found it very awkward driving in there with a camera, however once I explained myself they were happy to have me as a “guest.” The rule of thirds is used and I think there is a good amount of color as well as texture to see in the photo between the trees, dirt and puddles. In addition to meeting new people, I learned that stepping out of my comfort zone can be very beneficial. Morandin Concrete was happy to have photos taken at a place their family has known for years.

 

I strived to capture a coaches perspective as well as a students perspective in the sport of rodeo by photographing one of the LCCC college rodeo practices. Photo three is a sports feature of coach Beau Clark as he checks to make sure the breakaway calves are ready to go in the chute for the students about to practice. He is calm and collected and ready to help and motivate each student athlete to perform to the best of their abilities by ensuring they have quality and healthy livestock to work with. There are leading lines that makes your eyes follow up the chute to the coach and creating depth as you can see the small signs in the distance at the other end of the arena. Photo four is a sports action shot. Steer wrestler Austin Hurlburt is aided by his hazer, Tate Mathis, as him and his horse take a leap out of the box in attempt to ride up to the steer  and take it to the ground. To me, there was a certain amount of determination on Austin’s face and the end result proved him successful in his attempts. Focus and creating depth were used heavily in this photo. I think these pictures give a different perspective from coach to competitor. The first one shows the coach preparing everything for the students and the second one shows the students taking advantage of the opportunity given to them. I found it very hard to get my camera to focus on the students that were practicing as they move at such a fast rate. This was one of very few pictures that did that. Through this, I learned how important moving around was to create different angles and catch the different perspectives that I was hoping to. I found myself behind the chutes at one point which I’d not thought of when I originally decided on this idea.

LCCC rodeo team looks to the future

Adapting to change

Change is inevitable and that’s exactly what the Laramie County Community College (LCCC) rodeo team is experiencing. Second year coach Beau Clark is trying to recruit and build a team that has consistent values. This spring, Beau will be finishing up his second year of coaching and is looking for new ways to continue to build this program.

“Over the last year we’ve grown and are still in the process of changing the idea of LCCC rodeo,” Beau said. “Our recruiting process has completely changed and has allowed us to go far and wide in finding quality students to add to our team.”

The number of out of state students coming to the LCCC rodeo team is increasing every year. This year, team members are from South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and even Canada.

“I just try to ask my current kids who they know from back home to get an idea of who I should be recruiting for the following year,” Beau said. “I get those kids who have consistently worked hard both in the classroom as well as in the arena and find those similar to them.”

Those values that Clark strives to portray include honesty, integrity, resilience and grit. Beau looks at each day as an opportunity to grow these values as an individual as well as guide and mentor his student athletes.

Student Athletes

Austin Hurlburt and Georgie Lage are new recruits this year from Nebraska who have been competing since they were both very young. Austin competes in the tie down roping, steer wrestling and team roping while Georgie competes in team roping and breakaway roping.

“I like the calf roping the best because there’s just nothing like clicking with a good calf horse,” Austin said. “Just that slide stop and then they go to working rope. There’s just nothing quite like it.”

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Austin Hurlburt competes in the calf roping. Photo courtesy of Annette Palmer.

While there are many reasons the two both said they chose LCCC to further their education, there were two that the two students were adamant about.

“This is a college rodeo kid’s dream place because of the number of cattle we get to rope every day,” Georgie said. “We didn’t have this opportunity back home and that plus the incredible coaching staff is why I came here.”

While getting to rope as much as possible under a decorated coaching staff was great, the two both know that it takes more than that to have a great program.

Community support

Lisa Murphy of the LCCC Foundation has been a key part in supporting LCCC rodeo. As a former Miss Rodeo Wyoming, Cheyenne Frontier Days Board of Director and Cheyenne native, Lisa loves the sport of rodeo as well as the community surrounding her.

Lisa has been involved with the rodeo team since 2007 and has been a big part in fundraising efforts to help with the production of the Shawn Duby Memorial rodeo hosted at LCCC each year as well as the Shawn Duby Memorial Scholarship fund.

“We started out with just getting chute gate sponsors which made us about $20,000 each year,” Lisa said. “It takes about $12,000 to put on the rodeo and the remainder of that money we put towards the scholarship fund.”

When Lisa started helping with the rodeo team, they had about $30,000 in the scholarship fund. The fund now has somewhere around $300,000 and their ultimate goal is to get that amount up to $1 million.

Over the last two years, the team has really put forth an incredible effort to help fundraise. In addition to hosting the event and providing most of the auction items, the team also sells calendars to people in the community as well as local businesses. The calendars feature every student on the team and highlight 12 different members in their respective events for each month.

“It was truly incredible when we presented the team with the idea of Lariats-n-Lace because they all took a stand and offered to help gather all of the auction items,” Lisa said. “I think that because the items are donated by the students, it shows the community just how hard they are willing to work and gives them more incentive to help the team.”

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Student athletes Caydee Johnson and Georgie Lage pose with coach Beau Clark at the Lariats-n-Lace event. Photo courtesy of Georgie Lage.

At this year’s Lariats-n-Lace event, Beau stressed the importance of hard work in both the arena and the classroom and added that “the overall GPA for the team was above a 3.0 and just for the women’s team was above a 3.5.”

“Honestly, I wouldn’t have gotten this far in my two years here if it wasn’t for Lisa,” Beau Said. “She has been so helpful and she just knows all the right people to include that will come to our event and help support these kids.”

Due to an equine virus, the Shawn Duby Memorial Rodeo scheduled for last fall has now been moved and will be hosted in Cheyenne March 2-4. The team looks forward to putting on the event and hosting many individuals who have been there to support them throughout this rodeo season.