Photographer documents final season of football at Brown-Childress Stadium

Published 10:37 am Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Photo by Brandon Hicks For more photos visit

The season for football games at Brown-Childress Stadium at T.A. Dugger Junior High is drawing to an end.
Before the cheers end, the touchdowns are over and the lights are dimmed, one city school system alumnus is using some high-tech equipment to document the stadium before the football games are moved to the future Elizabethton High School facility.
Ronnie Brookshire, a 1977 Elizabethton High School graduate, is in the process of documenting the stadium during what could be its final high school football season using photographs and video. To get all different types of angles, Brookshire is capturing the video using a remote-controlled DJI Phantom 2 drone with a Go Pro camera attached to the bottom.
“I want this to be the best that it can be,” Brookshire said. “The drone and the camera are able to capture angles and views that I couldn’t get without them.”
Brookshire has been taking pictures and videos for this project this year, but said he had taken others in the past. He has been traveling back and forth between Elizabethton and his home in Nashville, where he works in the music industry.
He explained working with the drone could be a little tricky because the weather — especially the wind — is a factor, deciding whether the machine can fly.
“One thing I’ve noticed since moving away and coming back is that there is almost always some wind blowing here,” Brookshire said. “I was flying the drone across the field. I had come through one goalpost and through the other, and was going to loop back over the flag toward the stands when a gust of wind caught it.”
The wind took the drone hundreds of feet higher into the sky, where Brookshire lost sight of it in the sun. But he was able to bring it back down to the field, barely clearing a light pole as it came back in.
“The cool thing about this is it has a built-in GPS,” he said. “It knows where on the Earth it is. If it gets in trouble, it will hover and then return right back to where it took off.”
Brookshire said he “keeps it simple” when using the drone because there are some regulations for use to keep in mind. He said he doesn’t use it outside of the stadium or the area around it.
After he is finished compiling his photographs and video, he said the collection of images will be used either in a book or a video or a combination of the two.
“I want to show the spirit of the stadium,” Brookshire said. “It is holy ground to so many people. I understand why people feel the way they do about it, and I have been working in earnest to archive that.”
He said once construction starts on the new stadium, he plans to document the work from start to finish using the same method.
Brookshire also has photographs he has made of various local landmarks displayed in the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce Arts Depot. A showing of the prints is planned for November.

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