Last week was the 2019 Bob Feist Invitational. This roping is a classic and a favorite of many. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend this year. However, I still worked Roping.com’s social media feed from the event from my home in Texas.
I was sitting over the weekend and realized just how amazing that was. I was over 1,500 miles away and was making constant postings on our Facebook and Instagram pages. With the capabilities of stories and individual posts, our members and followers could receive down-to-the-minute updates and even watch runs throughout the day.
Of course, I couldn’t have done this on my own. I had to rely on family and friends that were at the event to send me videos and let me know as the rounds passed and when results would be posted. But I was able to get the information and then relay it to you.
I could only imagine what my dad, Rickey Green, would have said about it. This was the man that swore for years that he would never get on Facebook.
“Is that something on how to face your horse?” he would joke whenever the topic was brought up.
After years of joking and slowly showing him what social media could do for his business, he tentatively dipped his toe into the internet. It didn’t take long for him to find his way around the funny videos or the roping and rodeo contacts he found there.
Then it was me making jokes about “Those baby boomers… you can never get them off their phones!”
All jokes aside, social media has been incredible for rodeo competitors and fans alike. Starting out waiting for word of mouth results, then to printed results in Ropers Sports News or Spin to Win, communications in team roping and rodeo has been growing since the very beginning. When I was younger, we used camcorders to get everyone’s runs on tape or those mini DvDs. Then one day, we could take a video on our phones and text it to our friends and family!
I know I’m young, but even that is such a big jump for the past 10 years. On top of that, now we can live stream runs from anywhere! It’s amazing and to me such an exciting way to keep competitors and fans in the loop! Now it’s up to us in the media to learn how to best use these advancements. Some of us are getting the hang of it, but we need to step it up.
One of the best examples of rodeo and team roping journalists I know is Kendra Santos. She’s been in the business for years and uses her experience to her advantage, but maybe not in the ways you would think.
While many times people who have been in an industry for a long time get stuck on “this is the way we’ve always done it,” that isn’t the case with Kendra. She’s open minded and always seems to be a step ahead when it comes to creative ways to find and share the stories we all want to hear.
I follow all of her social media feeds, and I’m always so impressed. Not only does she use social media to get results and runs on the web, she uses her phone for snapshots of what life is really like on the rodeo trail. From posting videos during the mutton busting to a photo of Derrick Begay riding his bike around Reno Rodeo, Kendra knows how to find a story and how to share it.
Her writing has always been amazing along with her sense for storytelling. Now with the world at her fingertips, she uses the added reach of social media to her advantage. And if she can’t be there in person, she uses her social media capital to share results from other sources. She’s about the story, she’s about the fans, and she’s about the ropers.
I recently was at a work conference for my “day job.” I got to sit in on a presentation on “Pocket Journalism.” The presenters talked about ways to make your iPhone or Android into the ultimate journalism tool. They covered topics like podcasting, photography, videography, and social media usage, all from the palm of your hand.
I was inspired! This was of course after the BFI had concluded, but I’m so excited to try out some of the tools, apps, and tips that they gave us at this conference. The presentation showed me not only how much we’re capable of doing but how easy it can be to share these stories in a meaningful way.
As more tools and apps become available, I hope to see more people in rodeo media putting them to work. Aside from the runs and the results, it helps us to share the heart of the sport we love.
Even at the BFI, Kendra shared a video she took of my mom and grandpa helping Bob Feist present the first annual Rickey Green Overall Fast Time Award. This was such an honor that Bob and the BFI organizers gave to our family, and thanks to Kendra’s quick thinking and use of her social reach I was able to take part in it from afar.
It’s moments like this that make me thankful for how small our world is getting thanks to technology. While it might not always be used correctly, social media is an incredible tool that we can harness to move our sport forward by leaps and bounds.
I can’t wait to see what stories come out of the July 4th rodeo run! I know that thanks to social media, I’ll get to see and hear much more than I would without it. I hope all of you enjoy it as well!