Innovators of the West: Kirk Prescott – Bar XP Photo

If you've wondered who the dude in the long sleeve crew neck with an Alpha Bull tee thrown over it, racing crazily – yet, let's be clear, totally in control – down the skijor lane is, meet our Innovator of the West this week, Kirk Prescott. Affectionately known as Gongshow, with his signature Alpha Bull gear and vintage wool western cardigans, Prescott is a regular not only of the winter sport of skijor, but also a dedicated aficionado of anything western, especially if there is an element of adrenaline stringing out from it.

Here's our chat with him.

C&S: Tell us a bit about growing up.

KP: I was born and raised in the interior of BC, near the widely known Shuswap lakes. I hail from a large ranching, rodeo and blue collar background. The highway has always been my second home and horses have always carried me when I’m not in a truck or on my snowboard. Growing up, I spent a lot of time in Alberta and moved here, permanently, twenty years ago. I live on a ranch, near Okotoks, AB and still spend a great deal of my time on the highway, living my best life.

C&S: Who do you remember as your childhood mentors.

KP: Many people have had a significant impact on my life. In fact, everyone that I’ve met on my path, thus far, has shaped who I am, and where I stand today. If I had to list an individual, I would credit my grandfather, Massimo Pozzobon for my drive and my passion for our western way of life.

C&S: We've seen so many photos of your skijoring, how is that?

I love all sports but I have to admit that skijor season is a huge highlight for me! When I can mix my best friends, horses and speed, it doesn’t get much better!

C&S: Your day job?

I teach Grade 2 and Gym by day and it truly lights up my life. Each day is a new adventure and the energy we share is inspiring and life-giving! If I wasn’t teaching, I’d be working in the veterinary industry, again and likely even more photography and editorial pieces.

C&S: Where can we find you when you're not at work?

On a typical Saturday, I’m in the saddle, at the top of a mountain, or rollin’ down the highway in search of adventure with family and friends.

C&S: Favorite quote?

One of my favourite quotes is, “we don’t know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.” These words speak to me on multiple levels and serve as a motto for how I live my life.

C&S: Tell us a bit about your love of the West.

To me, the “West” is a way of life. It’s a culture that embodies hard work and community. The West is rich in history and grounded in traditions that have been carried forward for generations. Authenticity and integrity are two of the most important aspects of the western way of life, to me. In my images, I aim to share authentic experiences and those who have a story to share. Above all, I aim to portray our western way of life in an appealing and reputable manner. I feel that the “West” is important for the greater good because of the principles listed above. With these attributes at hand, the world is destined to be a better place.

C&S: If you could go back in time and spend a day with someone who is no longer on this earth, who would it be?

I would spend it with my grandfather and his siblings, at their homestead in BC. The stories that surround this time in his life are inspiring and the few images that we have are treasured greatly. My only goal would be to learn more and document as much as I could. I wouldn’t complain if I was able to spend a day on the set of Lonesome Dove but that’s an entirely different ambition.

C&S: Why is the West important to you?

One thing that I wish more people understood about the western way of life is the amount of work that goes into each day and the hardships that many farmers/ranchers face, in their quest to provide for others while also tending to their own family’s needs.

Some of my favourite western events are rodeo, stand-alone rough-stock events and artisan/craftsman exhibits. I believe that we can keep the West alive for future generations by welcoming the youth to invigorating events and coaching them to be successful in their avenue of choice and also mindful of how they portray the cowboy lifestyle.

C&S: You have amassed a great following through your social media feed Bar XP Photo. What is it about photography that grabs you?

My journey with photography began in high school, and then I stepped away from it for several years. I’ve always taken pictures and shared them with family and friends. My style truly evolved when I narrowed it down to my western heritage and my daily life. Photos truly share a thousand words. They have a way of documenting a moment that will forever serve as a memory. The name of my business is simply my livestock brand. While it’s nothing elaborate, it speaks to my authenticity and who I am. Brands are a staple in the western way of life and mean a great deal to the families that operate with them.

I use several platforms to edit photos, depending on the nature of their use. I love the simplicity of Lightroom and the quality of its final product. I don’t retouch or modify images much. I take pride in obtaining a quality image, aware of background, focus points and balance, initially. I have many photographer friends and they all inspire me to improve my skill set. My only goal with my business is to improve my craft and serve even more friends, family and businesses.  In light of COVID, not much has changed for me. In fact, I feel like I have been even busier.

C&S: Clue us in on some of your favorite social media accounts to follow.

My favourite “western” photographers to follow are ever changing and vast in number. I have many great friends who are very talented. A few that frequent my feed are Riata Imagery, Phyllis Burchett, Tara McKenzie and Billie Jean Duff. Truly, there are many great pages and people to follow on social media. With respect to the “West,” I often interact with Long Live Cowboys, Alpha Bull, Skijor Canada, Western Horse Review, Bex Sunglassesand Bad Heeler because we share similar interests. Social media can be time consuming, but when managed appropriately it’s truly a wonderful community and great source of inspiration. To maximize my “fun-time,” I spend time drafting posts when I have “downtime.” Planning ahead and coordinating stories with posts and objectives ensure that I don’t lose valuable saddle time.

C&S: What items in your wardrobe can you not do without?

I'm a jeans, hoodie and hat kinda guy. My wardrobe is not fancy, but I am dedicated to a few key items. I live in Wrangler/Cinch jeans and an assortment of hoodies and T-shirts. You'll rarely find me without my Bex Sunglasses and an Alpha Bull cap or Smithbilt cowboy hat! I'm addicted to Twisted X boots and shoes and I have quite the collection. Other than those, I spend some time in flip-flops but that's pretty rare!