Real People

Reporter Zak Brown told me a week or so ago that he was going to do a story about a rodeo event that used to take place in Boulder called the Boulder Pow Wow. He had a folder full of historical photos in tow and said he wanted to find some people to interview that took part in the 50 year event and gather audio to accompany the story. I thought it would make for a fun audio slide show.

In a episode of serendipity a freelance history columnist for the Camera, Silvia Pettem, was waiting for her daughter near a restaurant I was to shoot an assignment later that day. I told her about the story and asked if she knew of anyone who would be willing to talk about the Pow Wow. She told me about an 80-year-old man named Stan Johnson. She said he was an announcer for the rodeo and she had just talked with him recently.

Zak was able to contact and set up a time to meet Mr. Johnson at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. We decided that considering the former Pow Wow grounds are littered with retail stores the fairgrounds would make for a better background to make a portrait of Mr. Johnson. Upon arrival I learned that another gentleman, Lee Peters, would be there to talk with also.

What ensued was one of the most enjoyable story sessions I had been able to listen to in a very long time. I don't know what it is, but older generations have a knack for talking and telling stories much better than anyone. I still wish I had been able to record just one of the hundreds of stories that my grandfather, Bob Campbell, would tell every day when I visited. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Peters stood for a couple photos and then with seamless ease the pair slid into their role as audible historians. I hit the record button an tried to hang on for the next 20 minutes of journeys through Boulder's history.

Growing up in a small Wyoming town you take for granted the richness and trueness of rodeo people. Sure, everyone knows everyone and everyone's business, but those folks are real. Rodeo folks don't have to put on an act. They celebrate the rodeo family and each other. Now living in a metropolitan landscape with people trying to be things they are not to fit in and be trendy, I have missed talking with genuine people. This was a fun project, despite having to franticly finish on deadline because of this whole deal.

I also put a much longer clip together of the interview that explains the event in detail. But the link is broken on the Camera's website, so if you want to listen go here.

No comments: