Wending their way down the rodeo trails of the Pacific Northwest with camera, bullfighter baggies, and snacks in tow are Ashley Kendall and her family. It’s a lifestyle the PRCA photographer from Prineville, Oregon, never expected to be part of.
But when Ashley met her boyfriend, professional bullfighter Erick Schwindt, life—and her camera—quickly focused on the arena. “Bullfighting is not exactly an easy job. When I’m shooting, I don’t get scared (watching him). I just keep the camera going,” says Ashley. “Watching him fight bulls is like a dance.”
Inspired by friends’ reaction to her photos, Ashley delved deeper into action sports photography building her portfolio, and the PRCA approved her card in August of 2021. “Now I am dabbling more in the behind-the-scenes and highlighting what people don’t see from the stands. I like showing the romance of rodeo.”
Ashley’s 4-year-old daughter, Kendall, equally loves their rodeo lifestyle. “She’s obsessed with rodeo queens, and she has a pony named Coconut that we take with us. Erick just fought at the Columbia River Circuit Finals. Kendall dressed as Erick, and he painted her face.” The trio often leaves for rodeos in the middle of the night so Kendall will sleep. Ashley and Erick also fill their time on the road with their new business, High Desert Performance. They offer PEMF and laser therapy for animal athletes both equine and bovine.
The trio’s biggest trip yet together is the 2021 WNFR, where Ashley will also manage shoots for her job with McFarland Productions. Their favorite rodeo, however, is their hometown Crooked River Round-Up in Prineville, Oregon. “Erick fights it, and family comes into town for it,” says Ashley, who is excited to shoot the rodeo on her PRCA card. “Erick drives the water truck there and helps feed bulls. The community standpoint where we live is incredible. Everybody comes together.”
About the Author
Lillian Landreth is a freelance writer and editor. She particularly enjoys writing about rodeo and the extraordinary people and animals who make the lifestyle fascinating. The author of more than 1,000 stories, her writing has appeared in the Rodeo News; The Ketchpen, published by the Rodeo Historical Society and National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum; and local newspapers. She is also working on her first novel. When she’s not writing, Lily enjoys riding with the Snake River Stampeders night light drill team, coaching the EhCapa Bareback Riders, a PRCA specialty act, and teaching horseback riding lessons. She makes her home in Southwest Idaho with her entrepreneurial husband, their dog, horse, and cows.