By Jesse Wood
Two months before the NFL playoffs began and before Carolina Panthers’ fans knew their team was going to the Super Bowl, Blowing Rock News Publisher David Rogers already secured media credentials and bought a plane ticket to Los Angeles – to cover the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
See three former and seven current members of ZAP Fitness, which trains post-collegiate, Olympic hopeful distance runners in Blowing Rock, earned an opportunity to run in the trials, which will decide who competes in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
But after the Panthers kept winning and the NFL subsequently granted Blowing Rock News media credentials for one writer and photographer, Rogers changed his itinerary. (Rogers had media credentials to all of the Panthers’ games – home and away – this season.)
The Super Bowl takes place in San Francisco one week earlier than the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles, so instead of flying out of Charlotte next week, Rogers should be in the air early on Thursday.
“This is such a blessing that the NFL thinks enough of our work that we are doing to give us credentials over so many people that applied that I just feel honored,” Rogers said, joking – albeit somewhat seriously – that Blowing Rock News might very well be the smallest publication in history of the NFL to receive Super Bowl credentials.
Jokes aside, Rogers is a decorated journalist. Most recently, he was recognized by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association in its 2015 Best Writing Contest.
“I think some of it has to do with the coverage, not just the stories, but the graphics and images we use and the comprehensive statistics included in the stories,” Rogers said. “I think that for game-day coverage, I would put [Blowing Rock News] up against anybody. Nobody else is doing what we are doing in terms of game-day coverage.”
As Rogers noted, he won’t be fooling around at the Super Bowl in San Francisco: “We are going to work.”
Throughout the regular season, Rogers has a few photographers that he calls on to help cover the games, but for the Super Bowl, Dr. Brad Batchelor will be Rogers’ photographer sidekick. Batchelor, who owns Batchelor Chriopractic and happens to be Rogers’ chiropractor, has branched out of the medical field.
Batchelor is well known in the High Country. Batchelor is CEO of Flying Scotsman Productions, an independent film company. Batchelor, who has been involved in all facets of filmmaking such as camera, lighting editing, producing and stunts, worked on movies such as The Patriot, Gravedancers, Miami Vice 2007, Tolerance, Firestorm Rising and Façade, according to his IMDB bio.
Batchelor said he’s excited about shooting the Super Bowl in San Francisco for Rogers.
“Oh yeah. We make a great [team],” Batchelor said.
He’s covered Watauga High School football, App State football and the Panthers’ games. Batchelor went out to Seattle when the Panthers dominated the Seahawks in their own house and he also photographed the Panthers when they faced the Dallas Cowboys in Jerry Jones’ $1 billion house.
He noted that it’s the “ultimate work of art to capture” the athletes in the right position during competition.
“I am just honored to be able to cover these guys,” Batchelor said.
The Super Bowl takes place on Sunday, Feb. 7.
See Batchleor’s images from a previous Panthers’ game.
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