By Mike McCrimmon
A Casper photographer has been named the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association photographer of the year for a third time.
Dan Hubbell, owner of Hubbell Rodeo Photos, was named the winner of the award during ceremonies at the PRCA Awards Banquet in Las Vegas on Dec. 4.
Hubbell first won the award in 2000, its inaugural year, and again in 2018.
Hubbell’s rodeo photos today are known throughout the world, but he admitted that in his early days, he had a lot to learn.
“I had no idea what I was doing,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “A guy (would be) riding a bucking horse and I’d just pull the trigger. I didn’t have any idea about timing or anything.”
Other rodeo photos provided the inspiration that led him to sharpen his skills, he said.
“Going into it after looking at images that you thought had impressed you, you kind of had an idea of what they liked,” he said. “For instance, of the calf roper roping a calf and then he’s stepping off, hanging in that stirrup and that horse is in the ground. You knew a bronc had to be stretched out. It was easier said than done sometimes.”
Helping Hubbell figure out what photos cowboys might like to see is Hubbell’s wife Linda, who runs the photography business.
“I enjoy meeting the contestants, talking to contestants, seeing what they like,” Linda said. “They tell me what kind of pictures they like, what they don’t like and I pass it on to him.”
The Hubbells are now taking pictures of rodeo cowboys whose parents were photographed competing in rodeos in past years, Linda said.
“You see the guys who he took pictures of and you start to see the kids come along,” she said. “And they think that’s pretty neat. They’re like ‘My dad had Hubbell photos on the wall and now I finally get a Hubbell photo.”
Hubbell’s photos are also popular with rodeo competitors who like to see shots of their past performances, she added.
“You have world champions who never bought a picture, they went to the (National Finals Rodeo” five or six times and never bought a picture,” she said. “Now all of a sudden, they’re at the end of their career and those pictures mean something.”
“You’ll have a buckle or a trophy here and there and a saddle, but the images, you can say ‘That’s the way I rode right there,’” Dan said.
Hubbell believes his interest in photography might have stemmed from his mother.
“Mom took pictures, a lot of them,” he said. “So that might be where it really started.”