41 years and counting: KSAT 12′s Greg Simmons starts 5th decade of covering Cowboys Training Camp

OXNARD, California – It feels good to be back in Oxnard, California for what will be the start of my 5th decade of covering the Dallas Cowboys training camp.

I was reminded by the now retired ‘dean of sportscasters’ in the state of Texas — Dale Hansen — that last year was my 40th. We both started in Thousand Oaks in 1981, and since COVID-19 claimed 2020, this year will be No. 41 and counting.

I am more pleased to return this year than others because of the unprecedented heat wave and drought that continues at home. Going from 100-plus temperatures to 70 degrees is a lot more tolerable, especially with the cool breeze blowing in from the Pacific Ocean. That said, it can also make you complacent when it comes to protection from the sun. I already have my camp burn just four days into our two-week stay.

I am blessed to once again be working with two of the best in the business: producer Mike Klein and photographer Billy Caldera. They certainly make my job easier, especially nowadays with more responsibility in both the digital and broadcast commitments. That means more content for you on different platforms.

The toughest days are always the first and last days of training camp. The first is difficult because of the early call for luggage drop at the airport at 3:30 am. We don’t travel light. The final day is tough for the same reason, with a 3 a.m. departure from camp for a drive to LAX and then the long flight home. It’s the penance you pay for the privilege to cover big sporting events, and believe it or not Cowboys camp is one of those.  The amount of media present is always eye-opening to me.

We’ve already had a couple of challenging moments. First, our rental vehicle was functioning perfectly until we hit the Channel Islands Harbor Marina for live shots. We left the doors and back gate open, so when it was time to leave, it wouldn’t start. The battery died on us. 

As luck would have it, there was a gentlemen sitting in a car parked across the lot from us. Sorry for dating myself with this reference, but he kind of resembled the guy who rented a sailboat to Kevin Costner in No Way Out. If you might remember, he was walking around the Pentagon looking for Yuri… Anyway, he just happened to have a pair of jumper cables in his backseat. What are the odds? Needless to say, Billy made a trip to the store to purchase a pair of our own the very next day.

Then, out of nowhere, we had a microphone fail. One of the best they make was suddenly no longer operational. I thought it was the cable, but after several change-outs, it proved to be the microphone itself. Thanks to overnight shipping, a replacement has already arrived at the hotel.

There are long days. I am up at 7:30 a.m., with Mike and Billy usually way ahead of me. It’s non-stop until we wrap at 9:00 p.m. at night West Coast time. Believe me, I know there is a long line of people behind me who would be willing to do it for free.

I’ll keep you up to date as we travel through camp together. Just think what awaits us on the other side! The KSAT Pigskin Classic 2022 presented by your San Antonio Area Chevy Dealers. I have to get that engrained in my brain, since it’s going to be a 12-hour live broadcast from the Alamodome on August 27.


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