Great Bend Cross Country Invitational 8-30-18

The first week of high school competition saw teams of runners head to the Lake Barton course for the Great Bend Cross Country Invitational.

Due to a hot and humid late August day, the race director decided to shorten the length from the normal 5K to a 4K (2.49 miles). This decision came out of a concern for the safety of the runners.

Great Bend’s Mayra Ramirez won the girls varsity race with a time of 17:01.9. Great Bend also took first in the team competition over Salina South with a team score of 47 to 55.

In the boys varsity race, Salina South’s Keetan Munsell won with a blistering time of 13:28.7. The next closest time was Great Bend’s Ryan Nicholson with 14:05.5. Great Bend took first in the team competition with 23 points versus Garden City’s second place with 46.

Below are some of the pictures I took at the meet:

Great Bend Panther Red & Black Scrimmage 8-24-18

With one week until the start of high school football, everyone needs some practice to be ready for the season.

The Great Bend Panthers hosted their Red & Black Scrimmage to give the team a more game-like practice. Fans took the opportunity to scope out the best seats to view the action. Even some members of the local media used the evening as a chance to knock off some of the rust.

While everyone might not be one hundred percent ready for the kickoff of the season next week, they are that much closer to being there.

Below are some of the pictures I took at the game:

Rush County Fair Beef Show 8-3-18

After several months of feeding, caring, and working with their animals, the time had come for local 4-H’ers to exhibit their hard work at the 2018 Rush County Fair Beef Show.

These young men and women took the time and effort to make their cattle look the best for the judge. After showing off their animals, the competitors had to show themselves off in the showmanship contest.

Below are some of the pictures I took at the show:

Click here to purchase prints or downloads of these pictures.

Click here to purchase prints or downloads of these pictures.

Dodge City A’s vs Great Bend Bat Cats 7-25-18

The Great Bend Bat Cats held their final game of the season on July 25th by hosting the Dodge City A’s.

With it being the final game, the team recognized the local families that opened up their homes to host a player or players for the summer.

After thanking the families, it was time to play some baseball.

Both teams went 1-2-3 in their respective halves of the first inning. Then Dodge City exploded for seven runs in the second inning. The A’s added two more runs in the third inning.

Great Bend threatened to put a run on the board in the bottom of the third, but the Dodge City catcher tagged the runner out at home plate.

Early in the bottom of the fourth inning lighting crackled across the sky and caused the game to be delayed. After consulting weather radar and seeing several more lightning bolts flashing near the field, the coaches decided to call the game.

This ended the season for both teams.

Head Coach Rodger Ward took his players aside and talked to them for one last time this summer. He then shook hands and hugged each player before everyone gathered for a final team picture.

The season did not go as hoped at the start. All of the players could not hide the pride they had in being a Great Bend Bat Cat and for the friendships they made this summer.

Below are some of the pictures I took at the game:

Grapple on the Gridiron 6-29-18

During the summer, most people think of football and basketball teams doing camps and other activities. Wrestlers get to enjoy camps also.

Great Bend High School hosted one of the more unique camps in the state with the Grapple on the Gridiron. Coach Nathan Brockelman set up a camp where schools could bring teams to compete in a dual format.

Most of the matches would occur inside a gymnasium. One round instead took place on the football field under the stadium lights.

This event brought teams from Kansas schools like Labette County, Norton Community, Manhattan, Russell, Abilene, Liberal, Goddard Eisenhower, Wichita South, Rock Creek, and Pueblo West from Colorado.

The event provided the athletes with a great opportunity to put on the singlets and get some grappling in during the summer months.

Below are some of the pictures I took at the camp:

A Father Hugs His Son

Capturing a Father’s Pride

When you shoot sports, the action is front and center. Sports photographers call the pinnacle moment of a play “peak action.” Yet, one of the most powerful things you can capture is emotion.

The emotion of winning or losing a game. The emotion of cheering on a teammate or showing the frustration from a mistake.

Then there is the emotion from the end of a competition.

After the final horn or whistle sounds and the two sides of the athletic event shook hands, parents, classmates, friends and other fans will stream onto the field of play. Many times a player will be greeted with handshakes and pats on the back (or pads if it’s football).

This time presents ample opportunities to capture emotional greetings. Especially if the game held importance to one or both sides.

On November 6, 2010, the Otis-Bison Cougars made the long trip to Bird City for an Eight-Man Division II Regional Match against the Cheylin Cougars. The afternoon football game saw Otis-Bison continue on their winning ways with a 51 to 6 victory. The victory was their tenth straight game that ended due to the 45-point mercy rule.

It also meant the Cougars would play in the Sub-State game the next week for the first time since 1992.

To say it was a significant win for the team would be an understatement.

After the final whistle, as happened in all the previous weeks, the fans, friends, and family greeted the players on the field. I switched lenses on my camera to my wide-angle 18-55mm kit lens from my standard 70-200m. This allowed me to get closer to people and capture some of the emotion of the moment.

One I gladly captured occurred between Otis-Bison’s star running back/linebacker Michael Hlavaty and his father Mark.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mark closing in on his son. It was not hard to see how proud he was of his boy and the performance he just gave on the field. He closed the distance and embraced his son, pads and all, tightly.

A Father Hugs His Son
Mark Hlavaty hugs his son Michael after the Otis-Bison Cougars defeated the Cheylin Cougars 51-6 in the Eight-Man Division II Regional game on November 10, 2010 at Cheylin High School in Bird City, Kansas (Photo Credit Joey Bahr,

I snapped away as I moved from one side to the other. Of the few frames I quickly looked at on the back of my camera, I knew I captured a special moment between a father and son.

Otis-Bison would go on and win the Sub-State game but lost in the State Championship game. The 2010 team provided the Cougars their second banner, both for Eight Man Runner Ups.

I decided to take this photo and make something special out of it by printing it large and framing it and gave it to Mark for Christmas. I know this would be something he would enjoy having as a reminder of that great day and moment.

2-1A State Baseball Bluestem vs Spearville 5-24-18

The nightcap of the 2018 KSHSAA Class 2-1A State Baseball Tournament quarterfinals pitted the Spearville Royal Lancers against the defending the champions, the Bluestem Lions.

Spearville took the lead with one run in the second inning. They added two more runs in the fourth and two more for insurance in the sixth inning. Bluestem got one back in the top of the seventh inning, but they grounded into a double play to end the game.

Spearville will move on to the semi-finals to be played on Friday.

Bluestem ends the year with a record of 14 and 9.

Below are some of the pictures I took at the game:

2-1A Baseball Chase County vs West Elk 5-24-18

The Chase County Bulldogs faced the West Elk Patriots in the quarterfinals of the Class 2-1A State Baseball Tournament.

West Elk jumped out to a 5 to 0 lead by the end of the second inning. Over the next three innings, Chase County would add 16 unanswered runs to seal the victory 16 to 5 in a run rule shortened five inning game.

Chase County moves on to face Spearville in the semi-finals on Friday. West Elk ends the season with a 19 and 4 record.

Below are some of the pictures I took at the game: