Grambling State University’s Television Center took four mass communication students on a trip to Omaha, Nebraska. With the help of a GSU professor, the students helped produce the Omaha International,a world-class equestrian competition.
Alan Blakeney, commonly known as Mr. B, selected a small crew every year to join him on his “Big Trip.” This year Mr. B chose four seniors: Morgan Butler, Brianna Polley, Jikiaa Herndon and Gleron Fleming.
On April 8, Blakeney and his crew arrived and began preparing for Saturday’s Grand Prix Event. A Grand Prix (Horse Race) is also known as show jumping, which is a competitive sport of riding horses over a course of fences and other obstacles in an arena, with penalty points for errors. There were 22 contestants who rode multiple horses competing for the grand prize of $55,000.
The GSU student played an important role in the production of this event.
Fleming and Butler were camera operators. Fleming ran the lower floor level camera while Butler ran the game camera. She kept a wide shot of the field and was on live view for 80 percent of the time.
Herndon was the associate producer. She helped gather all names and graphics and directed racers to their appropriate location. Polley was the interviewer and also served as a graphics person.
“This trip was one of my greatest experiences here at Grambling,” said Polley, who is a Houston native. “I learned how to successfully create a production guide for a major event.”
Polley said the workers were patient and hands-on when helping the GSU students. She said after that experience she is confident she could pull off a production for a major event.
“This was a life time experience that not everyone could enjoy,” said Polley. The students worked side by side with professionals.
“With me Graduating this year, this was the perfect opportunity for me to gain experience. I gained more experience and developed contacts in the industry,” said Shreveport native, Herndon. Majority of their time there was spent working. The one day they did set aside for fun and adventure, it was snowing.
“Aside from the business aspect of the trip, we had tons of fun. Most of all we ate great food and stayed in a 5 star hotel. Mr. B and his wife took great care of us,” said Flemings, the Monroe native.
Blakeney has been a stepping stone for many students at Grambling. “Grambling is at a big disadvantage with the lack of equipment but with Mr. B we are able to maintain the necessary learning experience. He continues to give students opportunities to gain more knowledge. I am very grateful that Mr. B took us,” said the Dallas native, Butler.
If any student is interested in getting involved in the TV center they can see Mr. Blakeney. Every year the competition for the “Big Trip” is tough. Mr. B and Dr. Welch interview, check student’s GPA and be sure they are caught up in classes before making a final decision. Thanks to the crew this year, Grambling was invited to next years event in Omaha.