Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Another post about work...This one was quite interesting and fun for me to be a part of...

Jerry Ward is the current ranch owner of the ranch that was used for part of the filming of "Dances with Wolves." He has some beautiful property and is doing some great things with his ranch out there. He specializes in cutting horses...

Cutting is an event in western riding where a horse and the rider are judged based on their ability to separate an animal (usually cattle) away from a herd and keep it away for a period of time. Not just any horse can handle this task. Usually they are Quarter horses - very athletic, smart and willing to be trained. However, first and foremost the animal has to have an instinct for cutting - the best cutting horses come from a long family history of cutting - they should instinctively know how to keep a cow from returning to the herd. When the horse separates the animal the rider loosens the reins, and leaves the rest entirely to the horse.

Anyway, here is one of Jerry's trainers working with a cutting horse.

Here's our getaway vehicle...Where are we going? Check out the next picture.

Isn't it beautiful out here? Again, hmmm...dang I shoulda married a rancher. Why are we here? Check out the next picture.

Meet Herve. He visits sites where famous films were made. He researchs (TONS!) to find spots in the movie that he would like to re-create - to show what the spots look like present day. He creatively (and ever so smoothly) blends the video footage from the movie and his own present day filming to make videos that he puts up on a YouTube site.

Here's Herve and I - getting his steady cam all rigged up. You can see in this picture the research that Herve did prior to coming to South Dakota. He took still shots from the movie - places that he wanted to re-create. So when he gets out to the property, he figures out the exact spot the camera was in for the film, goes there, and wahla!

Basically what he is doing here, is he strapped his camera to himself, with a unit called a steady cam. He wanted to re-create the footage of what it looked like when Costner was riding on his horses toward the U.S. Military men.

(Previous two photos by tourism photographer Chad Coppess)

Chad and Herve working on getting the camera all lined up - I think Herve actually dropped something, and they were on the prowl for it!

Here is the ranch owner, and Bill Markley - who was an extra in "Dances." It was so great to have Bill along to help re-create the feeling of where things were (it's all just ranch land right now). Bill explained what it was like to be on the set of a major motion picture. Pretty cool!

Then we were off to the next location. Triple U ranch outside of Fort Pierre. Where the buffalo shots were done, and the fort shots.

We had a great guy from the ranch, Dave, take Herve and I around and show us the spots used for filming. He was super humorous - and luckily Herve has a sense of humor too. I told Dave that I wouldn't shut any gates, because I am under the belief that no rancher should ever let anyone shut their gates but themselves - only for the reason that there would be no one but themselves to blame if the animals got out. Dave didn't operate under that believe. So, he made Herve, who he called "Frenchie" (because indeed, Herve is from France) open the gate once...That didn't work out the, "Hey - 'Tourism'" (that was my name) - "Go help Frenchie!"

Of course, Dave wanted to show us a good time. So he let me drive up really close to the buffalo herd. "Frenchie" even go out, walked extremely close to the herd and did some filming. Next, to complete the experience, of course, we chased the buffalo so Herve could get some running shots.

While Herve thought it was pretty cool to be chasing buffalo...he was also a little nervous. So of course, Dave told him the story of the antelope...and while the cheetah is the fastest animal in the world, the antelope dominates the cheetah in distance. He explained that the antelope would pretty much just race us if we tried...And that it did. Herve was certainly holding on tight!

This is from the scene that most might remember very well from the film. The hill here, you can tell it goes slightly down the left side of the picture, is the one that all of the Native Americans were lined up on with Costner...all of the buffalo were on the other side of the hills. Gorgeous up here!

"Frenchie" and "Tourism"

Here is a couple links to his videos he made from our visit:
Part One
Part Two

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