Kansas City, Go Bowling 400

This has probably been about ten years in the making. When I was like 1o my cousin got a job working for one of the truck racing series drivers. He started in Michigan and has now made his way to North Carolina. He started with Jon Wood, made his way to the Wisconsin favorites; Paul Menard and Matt Kenseth before Aric Almirola, where he currently settles and has the awesome title of car chief.

At Christmas time, he mentioned trying to be off the road by the time he turns 40. Well that’s two years away. So after that being said, and the fact that I’m over 21 (the old age for being allowed in the pits) we thought we’d try really hard and get down to a race and get the full experience. So that’s what we did. We went to the Go Bowling 400 at the Kansas City Speedway.

We left Friday morning with Uncle Jerry in tow and made the 7 hour trek to the speedway. We got our passes and that’s when shit really got real. We had the pass that basically held the key for us to do anything we wanted to at the track. We had free reign of the garages, the pits and pretty much anywhere else. We got to watch Greg and his team fail and pass inspections and make their qualifying runs for the Saturday night race from atop of the car hauler. We were hoping to grab dinner with Greg after the garage closed, but it was late and he wanted to sleep, which is totally understandable.

Saturday was race day. The race wasn’t until 6:30 and the garage didn’t open til 11:30am and the grandstands didn’t open until 3:00. Jerry wanted to get there early so we didn’t miss anything. Well, it was a bit too early and we ended up sitting around and doing nothing for many hours, but it was still cool to sit around and watch every team do their thing.

While we were sitting around, I had a total fan girl moment when I saw Ashton Bayne, Trevor Bayne’s wife run by. Later on I saw both of them and their cute baby, Ellie Kate. I don’t usually have those moments, but oh my God. I was smitten.

We got to walk out on the track and take pictures with Greg and the car before walking down pit road where we jumped the wall and posted up behind the pit box for the rest of the evening. The few races prior, Aric got wrecked or screwed. Luckily, he didn’t get taken out or anything, but he ended up a few laps down. The race was rather boring in comparison to the last month of races, especially Talledaga. There were a few cautions, mainly for debris and one small collision that only included like 3 cars. It wasn’t as loud as I thought it was going to be, but after 250+ laps, it got to be a bit loud and probably would have damaged the ear drums. You can’t see much from the pits, it was still an awesome experience.

 

KC, MO – #2

I decided somewhat spur of the moment that I was going to KC last weekend. I drove 7 1/2 hours on Friday, to be greeted by a long hug that was much needed after having 7 1/2 hours to myself in a car. (I got a little nutty by the end of it.) I was proudly reppin’ Badger Basketball and continued to rep them after their loss.

Saturday was filled with delicious and filling brunch, a brewery tour at Boulevard Brewery, some Bo Lings, Snow&CO and Cards Against Humanity (and highly inappropriate answers), Arcade games and beer. There’s never a dull moment in KC.

Class of 2016

After the first one was snow delayed in Nashville, it was questionable that the second time around would be able to happen because of the snow here in Madison. But Mother Nature was nice enough to let the show go on.

William Michael Morgan, Clare Dunn, Drake White and Michael Ray took over the stage at the Majestic Theater Tuesday Night and absolutely killed it. There were four rounds where each singer did one song and there ended up being a bonus fifth round where they all picked a song and everyone joined in. They even admitted that they enjoy playing the smaller more intimate shows.

After all the concerts I’ve been lucky enough to shoot, I still have yet to encounter a musician that isn’t as sweet and personable as country music singers. They will start any conversation with you and have the most polite manners you will ever come across.

2015 Things.

2015 was full of some pretty great things. There were many adventures and trips, plenty of alcohol tastings, many memories made, some killer songs and albums released, and plenty of other good things to come of 2015. Looking back on the year, holy cow it’s been quite a year. 2015 was the year of big things for me, or so it seems.

I did the most traveling I’ve ever done in my life with topping out with 10 flights, a handful of road trips and plenty of places I’ve never been. I got to experience the lovely Sarasota Florida, BFE Ohio, KC MO, Germany and Poland. Talk about all around the world.

I laid by the pool while everyone was freezing in Wisconsin and ate ice cream for lunch every day, I got to see the beautiful Gulf and dolphins while in Florida. I got to spend some time with boy in Ohio. I got to experience the night life and wonderful food of Kansas City, Missouri. I got to travel the streets of Germany, drink beer for lunch, see the Berlin wall and all the history that the beautiful city of Berlin has to offer. I got to see the tiny history or little Polish towns and taste their delicious dumplings and watch their goats butt heads in the town square.

I advanced so far in the world of photography and owning a business. I got to shoot some of the biggest country singers including Sam Hunt, The Cadillac Three, Dierks Bentley and Chase Rice. I had the busiest senior summer I’ve ever had that topped out with 19 seniors. I added some new loot to my collection with a new camera and a sick new fixed lens. I grew my clientele, and crossing my fingers for them to return in the future.

I became a lacrosse coach – having my sanity be tested when I spent every day with high school girls who were supposed to look up to me and learn things from me.

I continued to work at the best job anyone could ask for. Although I worked many, many weekends, I gained another family – a family that not only includes humans butΒ  pups as well. I got to go on brewery tours, watch Family Fued at lunch time, bettered my ping pong skills, laugh until my stomach hurt and go on road trips with the best co-workers anyone could ask for.

I celebrated the big fancy 21 with friends and family, and even my work family.

I tried many new foods and drinks, including sushi and a variety of Thai food, so many random beers that Ryan told me to try, and a Brandy Old Fashioned. (Yes, I had never had one until December of 2015.)

I got to see so many concerts, and fall in love with country music over and over again.

As for albums that killed 2015,

Brett Eldredge – Illinois
Canaan Smith – Bronco
Cole Swindell – Down Home Sessions II
Kip Moore – Wild Ones
Maroon 5 – V
Thomas Rhett – Tangled Up
Old Dominion – Meat & Candy

And songs that I love from 2015

Learn It From the Radio – Thomas Rhett
Playing With Fire – Thomas Rhett
Fix – Chris Lane
Raised By A Good Time – Steven Lee Olson
Mirror Man – Ella Henderson
White Lightning – The Cadillac Three
Summer Forever – Billy Currington
Hide Away – Daya
Yours – Russell Dickerson
Wild Ones – Kip Moore
Stay a Little Longer – Brothers Osbourne
It Feels Good – Drake White

I lost some friends, but also gained some pretty damn great ones. I learned who I am as a human, and who I want to be. Don’t get me wrong, while there were plenty of ups this year, there were always those rough moments and downs that I had to get through. But I’m honestly so thankful for the friends, family and work family and support team that I have. I kinda sorta (maybe) have an idea on what I want to be when I grow up, but I’m sure that will change by next month.

 

New Year’s Resolutions

I’m not one to usually stick and come up with New Year’s resolutions, but I think this year might be a bit different.

  1. Stop sitting on my phone so much and live in the moment.
  2. Take more pictures – IG + more followers
  3. Travel More
  4. Design More

I realize that one and two are completely contradicting to one another, but they still work in their own. or I’d like to think they do.

And my resolution that will start 2 weeks into the new year is getting in shape. I know that’s always everyone’s resolution, but I really need to get on it.

Dream Team.

The last two weekends I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Indy and Cedar Point again for work and the Santa Hustle Series. I went to both of those locations last year and we had a blast – despite being over worked and completely exhausted. The car rides to and from were definitely the highlights and so many friendships were made.

This year we had round two. We weren’t as overworked and had more downtime. In Cedar Point we had more water park and drinking time.

It started with a brewery stop (and half) on the way down – the one wasn’t open and the other one was pretty sweet, and we had some time to kill until AAA came to unlock the car since Ryan locked the keys in the car. The evening was spent with shenanigans in the water park, drinks at Quaker Steak and Lube and some team bonding.

The races went fine, and we did our jobs. But this weekend proves that we are one big happy family and we always have each others backs and we absolutely know how to have a good time. I’m so incredibly glad and thankful that I get to work with some of my best friends. A-Team, Dream Team, Squad.

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Freakfest X

Halloween – or as most Madisonians call it, Freakfest. Every year, State Street gets shut down and it becomes a walking ground for Halloween shenanigans. The streets are lined with costumes; anything from a pirate, to the entire crew of Mario Kart to movie characters like Boo, Sully and Mike Wizowski. It’s crazy, but so cool at the same time. Along State there are stages for concerts headlined by well known bands. This year happened to be Timeflies, The Cadillac Three and Chase Rice. Star presented a stage and so did Z. I got to shoot the bands on the Star stage which included Jordan Davis, Thirsty Jones, The Mascot Theory, The Cadillac Three and Chase Rice.

Despite the freezing cold, and mayhem that comes along with Freakfest, it was awesome. I got some sweet shots, was introduced to a few new artists and got to hangout with some of my favorite ladies.

thirstyjones

mascottheory

jordandavis

tc3

chaserice