Covering the annual Great American Championship Motorcycle Hill Climb in Billings is a dirty job, but someones gotta do it. After covering the hillcimb for a few years now, I have learned a couple things.
1. WATER IS YOUR FRIEND! Bring a big supply of water that will last all day. It wouldn't be the hillclimb if it weren't HOT.
2. BE RAGGED! Wear old shoes and jeans (well, everything you wear should be old)
3. DON"T BURN! Wear sunscreen. Did I mention the heat?
4. DIRT! Don't get upset when every piece of camera equipment you bring gets absolutely covered in dirt.
5. LOOK OUT! After a bike rides past you......DUCK. I've seen some pretty fair sizes of clumps of dirt really pelt some people.
6. FOCUS! While shooting from the top of the hill, pay attention. A bike this year drove into the crowd at the top and into the haybails. It's hard to pay attention while you're looking through a camera!
7. WATCH YOUR STEP! Stay away from the ropes! As the "catchers" on the hill grabbed their ropes and dove for a bike that had crashed, I almost tripped over the rope. They would've had to rescue more than one person.
8. BE ON TIME! If the finals are to start at 12 noon, make sure to be there by 3. The hillclimb is never on time!
9. 2 DAYS IS 2 MUCH! I usually ask to cover the hillclimb on Sunday, not Saturday. After two whole days of the Hillclimb, I might not make it into work on Monday.
10.DON'T SCARE YOUR CO-WORKERS! After I finished shooting and arrived back to my vehicle, I took a look in my rear-view mirror and realized my sunglasses had left two clean circles of skin on my face. Before I made much of an appearance in the newsroom, I scrubbed my face pretty good in the bathroom.
I feel like a veteran covering the hillclimb now that I've learned these things. Although I bet it will surprise me with a few more lessons. For example: I thought I had it all down...covered the event...left feeling pretty decent...edited my photos...one more year in the books! Two days after the hillclimb I was at a store to buy something and unfolded my wallet to get my debit card. A bunch of dirt fell out, reminding me that the hillclimb is only 51 weeks away!