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Greg Simmons' 2019 Cowboys Camp Blog: Day 1

Travel and drama make for a long workday

OXNARD, California – As we are about to begin coverage of the Dallas Cowboys 2019 training camp, we thought you might find it interesting again this year if we give you a little behind the scenes look at what goes on day-to-day while we are on the road for the next two weeks.

For me, personally, this will be my 38th Dallas Cowboys training camp dating all the way back to 1981, when Danny White was the quarterback for America's team and the manster Randy White roamed the Dallas “D” as half-man, half-monster. The Cowboys camp at that time was held in Thousand Oaks, California, a little further south than Oxnard but still north of Los Angeles. The temperatures there were a little warmer, given the fact Oxnard is closer to the Pacific ocean. That's why the Cowboys decided to locate their camp here. Anything would be better than Wichita Falls and that heat bomb everyday.

The first and last day of Cowboys camp is always the toughest for me, if no other reason than the no sleep factor. Departure day on Thursday is 5:40am, because our rule is first flight out when covering an event outside of San Antonio. That means a 3am wake-up call, in the car by 3:40am for a 4:00am check-in before departure. Since we are gone for almost 2 weeks we do not travel light, so the early check-ins to make sure everything makes it are essential. Not fun, just essential.

Travel was no problem this year actually arriving early at LAX and retrieving our luggage in a very timely fashion. The big battle at LAX these days is navigating around construction which is a true test for any one of the fine folks who drive those rent-a-car busses. Hats off to them. We spent a relatively short amount a time at the rental car location and we were on the road. Thanks to early scouting by photographer Billy Caldera, we avoided the 405, which most of you from California already know, is a parking lot just about anytime of day. We are quickly outbound on the world famous Pacific Coast Highway and due to our early arrival, for the first time, we have enough time to actually get to the hotel and check in before the Cowboys arrive.

Along the PCH, the news starts to break that Ezekiel Elliott did not board the charter flight indicating he will be holding out of training camp for a new contract. We leave our producer Mike Klein at the Cowboys headquarters to get the team arriving while we return to our live shot location on the PCH for our 5 pm broadcasts and will return to the hotel for 6pm. It's always a close call but that's what keeps your blood pumping. As soon as we are done with the 5pm broadcast, Billy and I head for the Cowboys hotel and when we arrive I notice several police motorcycles lined up indicating to me the Cowboys have already arrived. But after consulting with Mike I find out they are still on their way escorted by the California Highway Patrol. Billy is nice enough to start dragging out equipment as we set up, not just for the 6pm broadcast, but for the Cowboys arrival and two interviews to follow. Thanks to Mike and Billy's great work we are able to do that so Andrew Cely back at the station can get the video and interviews immediately.  It's 4:15 now, 6:15 back home, so it’s time to break off to do our live shot. Thanks to all the hard work, it comes off without a hitch and day 1 so far going well.

It’s going to be a quick turn around at night since not only do we have to set up our equipment in our rooms. We are also tagged for a live hit on our new News at Nine which is just 7pm west coast time. Time to write and edit for the 9 and the 10 and we have just 1 hour to complete the task since it's about a 30 minute ride to our live shot location at Grant Park in Ventura.

As luck would have it, everything works and we are able to pull it off. Arriving at Grant Park in Ventura there is quite the crowd at our normal live shot location so we decide to go up one level where the view is even more spectacular, but at a cost.  We remember the reason why we always had to go from the second tier of the park was due to large trees blocking our view.  Unfortunately, those trees are gone after the wildfires that hit Ventura two years ago.

Both the News at Nine and The Nightbeat are in the books, and aside from quick dinner at a new Ventura location, there is a bed back in Oxnard screaming my name. I woke up this morning on the coach in my same clothes...but rested.


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