One thing we’re blessed with in the Buffalo area is that a lot of musical acts come through here on a regular basis. The challenge as a fan is getting good photos at these shows, because we’re often limited to the type of camera we can bring into the venue, if any at all (of course, in this day and age of cell phones, keeping “cameras” out of a place is nearly impossible).

I’ve seen some amazing shows over the years, many different genres and venues, and have been blessed to get some good shots – here are a few of my favorites.

Charlie Daniels - 2009

Charlie Daniels – 2009

LeeAnn Womack - 2010

LeeAnn Womack – 2010

Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson - 2010

Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson – 2010

George Strait - 2010

George Strait – 2010

Fergie - 2010

Fergie – 2010

Black Eyed Peas - 2010

Black Eyed Peas – 2010

Our Lady Peace - 2010

Our Lady Peace – 2010

Sheryl Crow - 2012

Sheryl Crow – 2012

Martina McBride - 2013

Martina McBride – 2013

George Strait - 2013

George Strait – 2013

Lorrie Morgan - 2014

Lorrie Morgan – 2014

Garth Brooks - 2015

Garth Brooks – 2015

all photos: paulathompsonfreelance.com

 

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Super DIRT Week logo via Facebook

Super DIRT Week logo via Facebook

Living in the Buffalo area and being around auto racing, I’ve known about Syracuse’s Super DIRT Week for many years, and for the last two, I’ve covered the Syracuse 200 Big-Block Modified race and all the festivities at the Syracuse Fairgrounds – the “Moody Mile” – for Red Dirt Clay.

And now they want to take the race away from me – and everyone else.

My boss at RDC, Ro Cowan, clued me in that the political powers that be in the Syracuse region are looking to “reinvent” the grandstand/track area into a “year-round NY-themed park,” thereby ending a soon-to-be 46-year tradition that brings thousands of people and millions of dollars into the region in the days surrounding Columbus Day weekend in October – all in the name of “progress,” in spite of a given good thing going on, albeit only once a year.

In a perfect world (mine anyway), politics and racing wouldn’t mix, but they do, and fans suffer for it. I’m all for progress, but it’s upsetting to see it come at the expense of something that I love.

There is a young man who started a Twitter campaign – #SaveTheMoodyMile – and a petition to sign to let the powers that be know we’re disappointed with their ideas and impending actions. Until a decision is made, however, I look forward to covering the Big-Blocks at the “Moody Mile” one more time – and maybe one last time – in October.

*****

My past Super DIRT Week coverage for RDC:

Super DIRT Week 2013 and photos

DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame 2014

World of Outlaws Sprints at Rolling Wheels 2014

Super DIRT Week 2014

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Fredric Aasbo

credit: Hankook Tire USA

I recently had the chance to interview Formula Drift driver Fredric Aasbo, who finished second in points last year to Chris Forsberg. The cool part of this interview, besides talking to a championship race car driver (he won the 2014 Formula Drift Asia title), was where he was when we did the interview: one of my homelands, Norway.

One thing I had to ask Aasbo about – especially since the Buffalo area is Narnia-like right now – was how the weather was in Norway.

“It’s been sunny and not too cold,” he said. “Pretty good conditions for cross-country skiing, which is what people tend to do over here. Not the crazy snow storms that I watch coming from Buffalo.”

Fredric Aasbo

credit: Hankook Tire USA

Go figure – our weather is international!

You can read more of the interview I posted on Examiner.com here:

Meet Formula Drift driver Fredric Aasbo

Fredric Aasbo on: Drift culture and cars

Fredric Aasbo on: Dreamride LA, Speedhunters and the future

His closing thoughts on the interview:

“The events are bigger and bolder than they’ve ever been, and especially the season-opener at Long Beach and the season-ender at Irwindale, it’s an awesome time, especially if you want to combine that with a west coast vacation – I’m sure we’d all like a little west coast sun now and then.”

Ah, yes, the sun…I remember that. Sign me up, Fredric.

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Looking back on 2014, it seems like I was “playing” with the side hustle more than I was at the “real” job from June through August! I’m blessed to have a job where I get a good amount of time off, and the ability to put overtime away as time off as well – so I suffer through winter to have fun in the summer, not a bad trade-off.

Progressive Field - Cleveland

Progressive Field – Cleveland – July 2014

Baseball – I made my annual trip to Toronto’s Rogers Centre for a Yankees game in April, then got to sit in some awesome suite seats (complete with AYCE food through the seventh inning!) at Cleveland’s Progressive Field for another Yankees game in July. At the end of July, I made my first trip to Cooperstown to witness the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and the installation of Joe Torre…what a celebration of America’s pastime.

NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens

NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens – February 2014

Gardens – Whether it was the Botanical Gardens, the Japanese Garden at Delaware Park, the Plantasia home and garden show or the National Garden Festival, I got plenty of great ideas for my own gardens throughout the year.

Matt Hirschman - Lancaster

Matt Hirschman – Lancaster – June 2014

Auto Racing – It was a pretty spectacular year as far as auto racing was concerned. I covered events at three tracks (Lancaster Speedway, Rolling Wheels Raceway Park and the Syracuse Nationals at the NYS Fairgrounds), caught the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour at Lancaster, Holland and Oswego, and saw the stars of NASCAR at Pocono and Watkins Glen International.

The Ponies - Man-Up Car Show

The Ponies – Man-Up Car Show – July 2014

Car Shows – Both ponies (Dad’s Mustangs) made it to two car shows this year, and each one made it to one other on their own. I also made my first trip to Olcott Beach for the annual Labor Day car show and a few others along the way.

The Osmonds - Seneca Allegany Casino

The Osmonds – Seneca Allegany Casino – May 2014

Concerts – I fulfilled a guilty pleasure in May – I went to see the Osmonds (well, three of them anyway)! In July, Blue Rodeo FINALLY returned to Artpark on a beautiful Canada Day evening, and I HAD to see Lorrie Morgan’s Christmas concert in December (possibly my favorite Christmas CD EVER!).

City Hall

City Hall – July 2014

Around Buffalo – Besides numerous trips to the Botanical Gardens, I visited the Buffalo History Museum and the Japanese Garden for the first time in May, and Route 20 Ice Cream in Orchard Park in July. Also in July, I hopped on a bus for a Buffalo-based tour, which led me to explore the Fontana Boathouse, City Hall, Pearl Street Grill and Brewery and Silo City on the waterfront. In December, the teenage hockey fan in me came out when Barnes & Noble had an autograph signing with one of my favorite Sabres of all-time, Clint Malarchuk, who was promoting his new book, A Matter of Inches.

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