Bill Lawless Photography

If you have grown up barrel racing in Washington state, chances are there is a picture of you hanging on your wall taken by Bill Lawless. If you were at last year’s WBRA Spring Fling in Moses Lake, you witnessed him catch a little girl mid air before she collided head first into the panels behind where he was sitting to take pictures. Her horse was headed straight at Bill when he hit the brakes, but Bill sacrificed himself and his camera that day for that little girl. We are family to Bill Lawless, and Bill Lawless is family to us.

Bill has had a front row seat to a lot of our best and worst runs, and he has spent more hours in an arena than most of us barrel racers.

We thought we would get his perspective by asking him some questions:

Q: How many years have you been a rodeo and barrel race photographer?

A: “I started photographing local rodeos in 1988. I got a PRCA card in 1994 and have shot pro rodeos since then. I began shooting some barrel races in the mid 90s and continue to photograph 4 to 8 barrel races a year along with the rodeos.”

Q: What got you into photography?

A: “I used to do quite a bit of backpacking and horse packing in the high country, and I wanted to have some kind of record of my travels in the mountains.”

Q: What is your favorite event to photograph?

A: “I would say I don’t have a favorite event to photograph. Some are easy to get lots of good photographs of, and others are more of a challenge. When the cowboys, cowgirls, and stock are good, it is easy to get good pictures. Although, I still manage to miss some even when they happen right in front of me.”

Q: What has it been like to see the sport change from when you first began to now?

A: “The sport of rodeo hasn't changed much from my perspective. The stock is not better, there just seems to be more really good stock. Barrel racing hasn’t changed that much either, except there are more people racing now than when I started, and to me there seems to be faster horses.”

Q: What are some of the struggles you face as a photographer?

A: “Missing out on some good shots. My photography has improved from when I started, and I try to keep improving. Getting a different perspective and not interfering with the action can be a problem. The best photo chance always seems to be in the middle of the action.”

Q: What is your most memorable moment as a photographer?

A: “I guess I don't have a memorable moment. It is the people in rodeo and barrel racing that I have met and am glad to have as friends that make my job enjoyable. Having the opportunity to photograph people from Charmayne James to Jordan Briggs and the many cowboys and cowgirls has made it a lot of fun.”

Bill Lawless’s wonderful photography is and will continue to be featured on our social media, and we will continue to support him as he has supported us as Washington barrel racers throughout the years.

Want your picture taken by Bill? He will be taking photos at:

Barrel Daze

WBRA Spring Fling

WBRA Finals

Columbia River Circuit Finals

Visit our calendar for all the info on these races, and visit to learn more about our amazing partner!

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