My first assignment for the lovely Atlanta Magazine was for their photo column, “One Square Mile,” which publishes on the last page of every issue. I headed to the Georgia/Alabama state line with freelance writer Josh Green to the renowned Robinson & Sons convenience store in Tallapoosa, Ga. Well, it’s renowned if you live in Alabama and like to play the lotto. You see, lotto is not available in Alabama, and Robinson & Sons is on the first exit after crossing into the Peach State.
Driving my favorite part of Ga. Highway 83, it’s easy to lose track of time. With only an occasional house or rusted fence to break up the miles of pine trees, irrigated cornfields and rolling pastures dotted with anthills, driving easily takes a back seat to my thoughts.
I have been covering racing at the national level (NASCAR, NHRA) for several years now, but there’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of racing at small, hometown tracks like Senoia Raceway. I’ve been driving past this track, which is right off Ga. Hwy 16 between Griffin and Newnan, since 2005, but had never been to a race there until earlier this month.
I grew up pretty close to Shady Dale, Georgia, but I didn’t attend my first Shady Dale Rodeo until I was well into my 20s. It was about 6-7 years ago, when I was working as a photographer for the Griffin Daily News. I was blown away that this had been going on right up the road from me for most of my life and I had yet to attend. I immediately fell in love with rodeos and the people who attend them.
I was never very good at sports. I didn’t pick up any girls because of my athletic prowess, I didn’t grace the local weekly newspaper’s sports headlines, nor did I make the rosters of the all-star or traveling teams. But I did have a lot of fun playing sports. Baseball, in particular. And a lot of that fun was experienced on a little dirt patch where I grew up in Bostwick, Georgia. For those of you not familiar with this quiet place, it’s a small, small, town between Madison and Monroe on Georgia’s scenic Highway 83. Population, 366.