We had the good fortune of connecting with Sami McGuire and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sami, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is essential.
It is essential to my career, my life, and everything I do. I grew up in the rodeo world and it showed me calculated risks. It helped me get comfortable being uncomfortable. I could see the tangible benefits of risks. When you play it safe in the arena, you risk missing your opportunity to rope your calf. But when you take that risky shot, you might get it and you might not, but at least you tried. When that risky shot works, you win. Next time that shot comes around it won’t feel as risky, because you’ve tried it before.
I apply the same thinking to my life and by extension, my career. I quit my full-time car sales job I hated to pursue my business. It was risky but calculated. I knew how much I had coming in monthly from my own business, and it was barely enough, but I could survive. I worked my way out of my house rental early and moved into a living quarters horse trailer and found a cheap place to park it. Every time I took a risk and it worked out, it built my confidence and threw me more opportunities. Every time I took a risk and it didn’t work out, I learned.
Risk in my actual work makes my business stand out. I didn’t sit in the corner of the area taking the same shot every time. I moved around, almost getting run over by horses frequently to get that unique shot. People loved it. When I took on projects that I didn’t quite feel ready for, but said yes to anyway, I worked hard, learned a ton, and rose to new levels. There were times I couldn’t complete the task, but in those moments, I learned. I learned how to talk to clients, learned where my skills were lacking, and met new creatives that were above my skill level.
I’ve live in the horse trailer year-round, something that seemed extremely risky at the beginning. Now, I can’t believe the incredible opportunities my business and my roping have seen because of it. Without the trailer living, I wouldn’t have ever made it to Wickenburg, Arizona, a town that has blessed me with opportunities I couldn’t have even imagined.
Risk is essential. You’re either taking risks to work towards your goals and learn, or you’re taking the risk of being stagnant and unhappy with your life. Rodeo taught me the benefits of risk and High Call Media is the shining example of what a good risk can do for your life.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
What set my photography and video work apart from the rest, in the beginning, was that I didn’t have to get every single run. Many photographers are hired for events, but I wasn’t. I went to dinky little jackpots that had no photographers and no one even knew I was shooting. It gave me a chance to try anything and everything because I wasn’t afraid to get crappy shots, which made for lots of deleting and editing, but also created something unique. Because I wasn’t afraid to “fail” on photos I took more risks. Now, I have the experience to know all these crazy, weird shots that still turn out great, but aren’t just a carbon copy from the rodeo before. Any chance I get to shoot for “fun”, I do. It is a constant learning curve.
My photos and videos are all an attempt to show off other people’s best. Their best work, their best horses, their best runs in the arena. I love showcasing the authentic western lifestyle. Rodeo is a sport that has given me so much. I want to share it with the world and highlight the amazing athletes (horses, cattle, people) that make this sport what it is. I think rodeo, horses, and authentic people are the art and I’m just capturing their greatness.
Getting to where I am professionally was a matter of open-mindedness. I started mostly with graphic design and I would spend hours working on a logo for someone to tear it apart. It hurt. But I needed the money more than my pride. I sucked it up and tried again and again. Most of the time, my final work was better than the original the client tore apart. I had to get used to criticism and see it as a challenge rather than a personal attack on my creativity.
Some lessons I’ve learned along the way:
1. You can learn something from everyone. The most difficult clients taught me the most. Some people have a different eye for things that you can’t see until you try.
2. Carry business cards everywhere. I can’t even count how many times in the grocery store, bar, church or at a rodeo I didn’t have a business card on me and regretted it.
3. What makes your business different than the rest is you. So let your authentic self shine through your work and you will attract clients who want to hire YOU and your business. That makes for longer-term clients that you share true connections with.
My business is called High Call Media for two reasons:
1. I aim to showcase and market other’s higher callings.
2. In rodeo, if you come back to the final round sitting in first place they call it the “high call” spot.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m biased to the Wickenburg area because I love roping, riding and the people here. I would definitely take my friends for a horseback ride in Box Canyon, lunch at Rancho Bar 7 and for bar games at the Mecca.
I’d love to take them to the Grand Canyon to hike down into it rather than just seeing it from the top. I would also take them to Lake Pleasant and explore the lake via paddleboards. I haven’t had the chance to float the Salt River in Mesa with the wild horses, so I’d make sure we had time for that as well.
Besides enjoying the beautiful sunshine and probably a margarita or two, we’d spend most of our time at roping jackpots in the area roping and meeting rodeo people from all over the world!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I couldn’t have taken the risks I’ve taken without faith and God-given talents. So, I’d have to first off thank God for placing desires on my heart and blessing me with opportunities.
Also, I have a wonderful group of friends, mentors and family that get to hear every little plan I dream up.
My mom, my dad, my aunt Jenny and my aunt Jill for always being my “adult” voices in my life and being supportive even if they can’t always see my end vision.
My friend Katie for teaching me what hard work looks like and being my logical sounding board.
My friend Cat for hyping me up and pushing positivity my way.
My friend Cassy for giving me the hard truths and letting me vent when needed.
My friend Hailey for making me feel like a superstar and pushing new connections my way.
My mentor Ted Harbin for showing me how possible my dreams really are with his own business and for bringing out my best.
Other: TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@highcallrodeo
Arizona Western Photos – Ryan Noble (https://www.instagram.com/ryanobull/?hl=en) Night Rodeo Photo – Cowgirl At Heart Photography Other Rodeo Photo – RC Photography Laying Down/Yellow Horse Photo – Heather Campbell Photography All other photos are taken by High Call Media