Art of the Cowgirl Phoenix 2019

It’s been a few weeks now since I returned from a quick trip to Pheonix to attend Art of the Cowgirl and I’ve finally collated my thoughts to share with you all from start to finish. 

The first day of the adventure was both exhausting but exciting for myself and my dear friend Tracey Barkle of Running Creek Ranch who would be accompanying me on this journey. Tracey had decided that this would be an excellent event to showcase some of her incredible artwork, further adding to our anticipation and excitement to attend the inaugural event. 

We left from Brisbane to arrive at LAX within the same day, before jumping on another quick flight to Pheonix. Upon arrival, we headed straight to our AirBnB and began to unpack, hoping that we had not forgotten anything in our excited haste. The hardest part about packing in fact was choosing which of our fabulous bags would accompany me. Fortunately, I had recently received a stack of feedback from our international cowgirls on our cross body bag which snuggly fits all your travel essentials such as a purse and passport – so this in itself, made the decision a lot easier! I was pleasantly surprised and toted the bag around with me for the week, giving it a good work out! 

We walked the streets of Pheonix until our new boots were thoroughly broken in, searching for some last minute items for the Running Creek Ranch booth before Art of the Cowgirl would kick off on the Friday night. As luck would have it, we managed to have the stall set up and ready, just before noticing that we were parked just beside the exceptionally talented photographer, Constance Jaeggi and her very entertaining partner in crime, Kat Goodfried. The time at the booth was spent exchanging stories, laughs and making new friends, whom we can’t wait to catch up again with later this year! 

My motivation to engage with the convention was simple, I desired to meet likeminded individuals who had a passion for the West and all things that come with it. I was certainly not disappointed, from the moment I arrived I noticed how enthused everyone was to be in attendance and to be supporting one another in our shared purpose.

Saturday, the day I had been itching for, began with a quick trip to Whole Foods to get some sustenance before heading to Corona Ranch to watch the colt start. On a side note… how good is Whole Foods?? If anyone wants to be my business partner to bring it to Australia… you let me know ok? Anyway – back to the colts… I had recently picked up a new you beaut lense for my Nikon so that I could capture the experience. In particular, I like to watch intently for ‘the change’ in the horse during the starting process and capture it in still form as best that I can. I’m no professional, but I sure do enjoy it. As the colt start progressed, I began to notice how young everyone seemed (handlers and colts alike) and was particularly impressed by both Luke and Kellie Neubert and found that the majority of my camera roll was filled with photographs of them. There was a simple joy within them both that was exciting to capture, and one which showed how much they love what they do. Whilst they worked the colts, Curt Pate did an excellent job of keeping the crowd engaged by chatting to all the participants.

Saturday night rolled around and the auction in support of the fellowship program kicked off. I was assigned bidding card 77, so knew I was going to be very lucky in any bids I made, which were bound to be plenty, given the number of lime margaritas we had been sipping on. I was eyeing off a couple of products but a very special photography titled ‘Drive by’ by Constance herself caught my eye immediately… I knew I had to have it in my collection. To my pleasure, I won the photograph! Now, I know, you don’t really ‘win’ in an auction but it certainly felt that way. Very promptly, the mad hatter (Trent Johnson) from Greeley Hats generously offered to have the gorgeous photograph posted home safely to me. I had only known him for a few hours, but in typical fashion for this event, nothing was too much trouble. I’m truly unsure how I will be able to repay to constant kindness, generosity and support I felt in that environment.

Sunday’s events unfolded much like Saturday’s; full of smiles and settled colts but sadly, less margaritas… Like most events, the last day is the hardest, knowing that the fun is quickly coming to a close and the journey back home was fast approaching. We said out goodbyes (or “see y’all next year”)’s and retired for a good night’s rest before crossing the pond back to Australia the next morning. 

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