Courtyard Marriott Oakland Airport Hotel, Floor #1.

Look out Window #21

Stop number 21, Oakland Ca. The last time we were here was 2008 and I remember being amazed with the amount of sporting events taking place in the area. The Oracle arena and the O.co Coliseum are tied together with a maze of tunnels. When I arrived at the building this year I made a wrong turn and ended up walking into the baseball stadium. The crew was churning away preparing the field for the night game. Along with that game was another game the next day, a San Francisco Giants game the day before, a San Francisco 49ers game the day after, the America’s Cup sail boat race, and I’m sure that there were many others to go along with our PBR.

My window was more of a door this weekend. Floor 1, ground level of the Courtyard Marriott Oakland Airport Hotel. I was about 30 feet from the pool. There were palm trees and bushes everywhere. I thought that it would be a great night photo after seeing how it lit up the first night. If I didn’t know any better, I would think that I was at some fancy resort in Hawaii.

Keep it in focus!

Andy

Winstar World Casino.

Look out Window #20

105 degrees at the Thackerville @PBR @winstarworld casino! The action was just as hot. The Hotel window had a great view of the casino.

Arena view from the Winstar World Casino.

Arena view from the Winstar World Casino.

Keep it in focus!

Andy

Loews Vanderbilt hotel. Floor #6.

Look out Window #19

The music city played host to stop number 19 on the BFTS tour. What a city this is. If you have never been there, it’s nonstop music in every establishment. Some of the best up and coming country music acts playing their hearts out at noon for the lunch crowd. You have got to love this place!

Over the years we usually stay right near downtown, but this year, we stayed a bit out of town near Vanderbilt University. The hotel was the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. I was on the 6th floor and my window overlooked part of  the University. This part of town has no shortage of history or fun. There are tons of restaurants and bars in this area. I’m sure it is a hopping place throughout the college season.

If you have never been to Nashville, this is the event for you to go to. Great food, entertainment, and fun are around every corner, not to mention an awesome PBR event.

Keep it in focus!

Andy

 

Hyatt Regency downtown Tulsa, 4th floor.

Look out Window #18

On the road again! I hope everyone had a great summer. It sure went fast for us. I didn’t look out of very many hotel windows which was a nice change, but as I walked into my room in Tulsa, I found myself walking straight over to the window and looking out… I guess you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

Tulsa was a busy event for me, so I didn’t have a chance to stare out the window too much. ABBI events kept me busy during the days and BFTS events in the evenings, but that is the way I like it.

Hyatt Regency downtown Tulsa, 4th floor.

Hyatt Regency downtown Tulsa, 4th floor.

Not too much “sitting around” time. My room was on the 4th floor of the Hyatt Regency downtown hotel. The window overlooked a nice park with water features and bronze statues. I never got a chance to visit it, but I’m sure it is a great place for a lunch break out of the office.

Tulsa has always been a great event, but I’m sure, as everyone knows by now, it was extra exciting this year. JB and Bushwacker met again, and this time, JB came out victorious! This is one of those PBR moments that will make you remember which window you were looking out of when history was made.

Keep it in focus!

Andy

Eric Adams MFG shoot. Photo by Andy Watson

Casting Call: Fly Fishing and a Photo Shoot

Since January you all have been “traveling” along with Andy as he has criss crossed the  United States showing you views outside his windows. This blog is a bit different – A: there’s no window, and B: I, Jacey aka Photo Commander, have taken control of the keyboard.

Even though, the PBR BFTS is on a bit of a hiatus, Bull Stock Media is still working, however play time has been extended compared to the previous months. Spring has arrived here in Montana, and this means soggy days, windy days, warm days, cold days, followed up again by soggy days. But all of this adds up to a recipe for success when you grab a fly rod and head to the Nirvana of all rivers – the Mighty Mo at Craig, MT.

Our trip begins with checking in at the Headhunters Fly Shop, setting up camp just mere feet beyond it, and then locating the rest of our buddies to hit the water.

Camp set up right behind HeadHunters Fly Shop. Happiest place on Earth.

Camp set up right behind HeadHunters Fly Shop. Happiest place on Earth.

Word was the fish were happy with anything you presented them. The report held true and you couldn’t help floating down the river knowing you were experiencing something “special.” (Tony V knows what I’m talking about.) I never truly grasped the reference of what Head Hunters meant until now. Sure, nymphing was a 12 on a scale of 1-10. But, the dry fly action was mesmerizing. We would find them on the flats and at first you couldn’t see them, but give it a minute and there! A nose, a head, a fin, a nose, a nose, a head, a fin…you get the idea. At this moment a head-huntress was born. Of course, a little help from a good friend and guide, Eric Adams of Montana Fly Fishing Guides, never hurt to get me really dialed in. Ladies (and men), if you ever want to wade deeper into your skill set or learn a new skill, call up Eric!

With all of the fabulous fishing, yummy food, exuberant laughter, and quality time spent with Andy and friends, we did manage to toss the camera in the boat for a planned photo shoot. A little different than bull riding, but we were up to the task – call in the fly fishing photographer!

A guide has to have a good bio shot. Nailed it!

A guide has to have a good bio shot. Nailed it!

Eric was needing an updated bio shot. Gotta catch a fish. No problem, an hour down stream a 20 incher was landed and was cast as an impromptu Oncorhynchus mykiss model – better known as Rainbow Trout. Within 5 minutes we got the shot and he was released to continue gulping Baetis spinners.

Let’s see, next we need those quintessential guide/client shots. I have now been casted as the model. No worries and no pressure. We have the most beautiful backdrop on the Missouri River to work with and oh yeah, we found BIG fish! Andy got the shots with ease and we continued on our way downriver to the take out, grabbed a beer and enjoyed the evening.

When fishing with a guide, this is a pretty common pose. Affectionately known as the "Guide Lean."

When fishing with a guide, this is a pretty common pose. Affectionately known as the “Guide Lean.”

We were all smiles as soon as I hooked a nice fish on a dry.

We were all smiles as soon as I hooked a nice fish on a dry.

Eric spies some risers and helps guide my cast.

Eric spies some risers and helps guide my cast.

21 inch Rainbow Trout!

21 inch Rainbow Trout!

Andy poses with a beautiful Brown Trout.

Andy poses with a beautiful Brown Trout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you see, we’re still working but seemed to have found the perfect balance of play laced in. I miss my Herdies, but have no fear, we will ride once again!

Oh, and no models were injured during this photo shoot.  All were released (including me) to go on about their daily routine.

Mandalay Bay Resort, 34th floor.

Look out Window #17

Vegas Baby! There is only one place on Earth like Las Vegas, and that is where the Last Cowboy Standing took place this year. If you ever find a more suspenseful bull riding format, let me know. And Vegas seems like a fitting place to hold it.  Follow up a great event with a Gary Allen concert at the Mandalay Bay beach, and your weekend is complete!

The Mandalay Bay has been the home of the PBR for quite a few years now. It seems that any room you have here has a great view. One side of the hotel overlooks the strip, and the other overlooks the pool area. You really can’t go wrong either way. My room this year was on the 34th floor and was on the pool side. Not too bad compared to some of the views I have had this year.

If you like my view this week, then you can stay here during the finals. It would just be another excuse to come to Vegas! Hope you enjoy.

Keep it in focus!

Andy

Floor 2 of the Hampton Inn and Suites at the Idaho Center.

Look out Window #16 Boise

Spring Tulips

Spring Tulips

Spring has sprung! At least in Boise, Idaho. What a great weekend and event this was. Temps in the low 70’s, no wind, green grass, blossoms, and flowers everywhere. Golfing was the theme for this weekend. Jacey and I always drive down a day early and spend it chasing the little white ball around the course. As I try to concentrate and improve upon my golf game, Jacey chases flowers and wildlife around with her iPhone and tries to improve upon her photography skills. I think she improved her skills more than I did my golf skills…

The event this year was as good as I remember it ever being. The crowd was amazing, bulls bucked, and guys rode. With the exception of a few injuries, it was an awesome event.

Golf Course goose family.

Golf Course goose family.

My window was just a bit less spectacular. The South side of floor number two of the Hampton Inn and Suites at the Idaho Center overlooks the parking lot and a building. I guess I should be happy that it actually looked outside unlike others I have had this year. The hotel was great and the weekend was as well, so I guess I will take what I get.

All in all, I would have to say that the Boise event is on my top five list of favorite events. I think that the nice spring weather and the amazing fans are probably a pretty big help making it move up the list. I hope you all enjoy my window and Jacey’s iPhone photography skills this week.

Keep it in focus!

Andy

2nd floor of the Embassy Suites Hotel Des Moines Downtown.

Look out Window #15

Another city with a river running through it – Des Moines, Iowa is where the PBR spent the weekend. I love to look out and see a river. It always adds a little bit of Montana to the scene for me, albeit, the rivers have been typically A LOT larger than they are at home. It’s just something about the sound and smell of a river that makes me happy. Like last week’s event in Louisville, the host hotel was on the other side of the river, so it was a great walk across the bridge!

Downtown Des Moines

Downtown Des Moines

The hotel was the Embassy Suites Des Moines Hotel Downtown. We have stayed here every year that we have had this event. The rooms on the West side have a great view of Downtown as you can see from the photo. It is a nice walk along the river to a bridge that you cross near the arena. My room was on the second floor so I didn’t get a very high view of the city, but it was pretty cool. I am pretty sure that the windows hadn’t had their Spring cleaning yet, however I found a section to shoot through that wasn’t too bad.

I always like coming to this event. It is pretty laid back, and the fans really have fun. The city seems to be buzzing with events and enjoying the start of Spring. All in all, not a bad event to come to if you are looking for something to do in the Midwest. I hope you enjoy my window. See you from Nampa, Idaho!

Keep it in focus!

Andy

 

View from my 6th floor window at the Sheraton Louisville Riverside Hotel.

Look our Window #14 Louisville

1999 was the last year that I shot the Louisville PBR event. We were in Freedom Hall, which was part of the fairgrounds. It felt a little more like a rodeo setting than a PBR event. 14 years later it was a totally different story! Sitting right on the edge of the Ohio river is the Yum Center. A brand new building and their first dirt event. Nothing better than messing up something new and shiny!

The mile and a half bridge to my hotel over the Ohio river.

The mile and a half bridge to my hotel over the Ohio river.

Our hotel sat just across the river and state line in Indiana. And if you are wondering, it is a lot further than one would think it is. I know, I did it. Put it this way, if I was heading to an appointment across the river, I would have probably missed it. I would have to schedule more time for future appointments.

My window this week wasn’t too bad. It was in the Sheraton Louisville Riverside Hotel and was on the 6th floor (something about me and the 6th floor this year…). If you look on the left side of the window, you can just see the city. I am always a fan of looking out on a river, and the flood wall made me feel safe, well at least from one like they had in 1937. Any way, all in all, it was a pretty good window, and a fun event. Hope you all enjoy the view.

Keep it in focus!

Andy

Billings Crowne Plaza, floor #11.

Look out Window #13 Billings

Welcome to Montana! This is the 18th year that I have worked the Billings PBR. It was actually where all of this PBR stuff started for me. I had previously worked an event for the Billings NILE. It was just an open bull riding, but in 1996, the PBR sanctioned it. I was asked to pass on some of my images for the PBR magazine, and that’s where this adventure all started.

Spring Mayfly on the 11th floor window, downtown Billings.

Spring Mayfly on the 11th floor window, downtown Billings.

This blog is supposed to be about a window not me, but if you want to learn a little more about how I got started, here is a link to a great article by Keith Ryan Cartwright. http://www.pbr.com/en/news/features/other-features/2013/4/andy-watson.aspx

Now on to the window. 11th floor of the Billings Crowne Plaza is pretty far off the ground for Montana. This building is as tall as it gets around here, so the view was pretty good. Jacey and I got in from our little rental on the river and were having river withdrawals. The view was pretty cool in the evening so I decided to shoot it then. Maybe not the most scenic view in the world, but it is Montana and three hours from my house.

I am adding a photo of a little friend that came to visit us. It is a sure sign that Spring is just around the corner, a Mayfly!

Montana Spring from the parking garage bridge.

Montana Spring from the parking garage bridge.

This is one of the first bugs to hatch on the river as the water temps start to warm up. I think it helped with the withdrawals a bit.

Then on the day we left, it snowed… What’s all this talk about Spring? Oh yeah… it is Montana. That’s what I love about it here.

I hope that you all enjoy my window this week. I know that I sure did!

Keep it in focus!

Andy