Surrounded by dirt, in the middle of Frontier Arena is the pit. That’s where the some of the best photographs of Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo action are taken.

Tamara Rodgers first got into the pit 5 years ago with a point and shoot camera. She was intimidated by the other professional photographers with those giant lenses that can cost and arm and a leg, maybe even your first born. That was then, now...

Time has passed and access passes have too. It’s more difficult to get in now. Media connections help. Freelance passes can shoot on certain days. You need skill, luck and credentials to get the prime shots.

On the busiest day that Tamara experienced, there were about 14 people crowded into the underground area. You jockey for position to shoot the action from the protective raised area that now has an additional red bar to make shooting even more difficult. Even a pack of professionals can crowd a great shot.

The pros know that to use the restroom before you get into the pit. It’s in and out at half time, because once you’re in there, you are limited to entrance and exit because there are horses, cattle, cowboys and cowgirls involved in some intense action, with no time for people getting in the way of the action. That gets even worse when shooting behind the shoots where many are oblivious to people with mega-lenses that are actually trying to work. Just part of the gig.

These pros are expected to look professional as well. The crisp, clean, long sleeve shirt, neat blue jeans, boots and hat are part of the dress code, as it is for all that are on job during the Daddy Of ‘Em All.

Tamara is just one of the dedicated pros capturing the great shots of the heroes of the rodeo, be they man, woman, horse or steer.

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