For the second consecutive year, Cut Bank native Clay Guardipee is set to photograph the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR). The event, which is scheduled to take place from Dec 3-12 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, should provide another exciting ride for Clay and his camera.
“Last year this event went by so fast but it was a great experience and so much fun,” Guardipee said. “I am really excited for it again this year and am going to take it all in.”
As with the rest of the sporting world, the NFR and other rodeo events were impacted by the effects of COVID-19. With only four photographers selected for the 2020 NFR in Texas, Guardipee noted he feels even more honored to be selected as a repeat photographer in 2020 than he did in his first selection last year.
“It really is humbling to be selected again, especially with the type of year that we have had,” the 2010 Cut Bank high school graduate said. “It will be an honor to do and I believe that the emotions of everyone and all of the riders will be a lot higher this year.”
Despite a lot of the rodeos around the country being postponed or canceled due to the ongoing global pandemic, Clay has kept himself busy through his photography company RodeoReady, which he founded in 2015.
“RodeoReady has been really good this year as I’ve done a lot of family portraits and graduation photos,” Guardipee said. “I think a lot of people that have been stuck in their homes look up at the walls and realize that they want to update some of their family photos.”
The business came as an inspiration to Clay when he would follow his Caleb brother to rodeos and take pictures to pass the time. As he practiced and people began to notice him and his pictures, he realized that this was something he really enjoyed.
Clay and RodeoReady, which are now both based out of South Dakota, are ready for any other challenges that life has to throw at them over the coming years.
“It works well with photography because I don’t have to be in your face with everything going on in the world. I can keep my distance because I have my lens,” Guardipee said. “I never thought that this would be my profession but I am really excited to see where this continues to take me.”