By Matt de Simone
WSLS-TV 10 Sports Reporter and Botetourt County native Brooke Leonard recently returned from the northwest to add a familiar face to the station’s news coverage for the area to enjoy.
Leonard, a graduate of Lord Botetourt High School, moved to Bozeman, Montana to begin her career as a sports reporter a little over a year ago right after graduating from Virginia Tech.
Leonard talked about learning to deal with reporting in the digital age, stress management, and the occasional assignment reporting on sports that Virginians would possibly deem unconventional. Reporting never comes without a few obstacles.
“One football game I tripped and fell on top of my camera and broke my camera in the middle of the game,” Leonard said with a chuckle. “It’s never a fun phone call to call your boss and say, ‘Hey, I need another camera. I broke mine.’”
Some of the sports Leonard covered in Montana consisted of rodeos, stock car dirt racing, the Gallatin Valley Wife Carrying Championships, and skijoring— a sport where horses pull skiers through obstacles to win the race. Think: cross country skiing mixed with skate skiing, water skiing, and mogul skiing.
Leonard explained that her decision to leave Montana and return home was a tough one. “It’s so beautiful out there. The relationships I made with the station and the viewers made it hard but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to come home.”
Although Leonard recently returned to her hometown, she still plans to eventually visit Montana when the opportunity presents itself. “I would love to live out there some day or afford a vacation house there. It’s incredible, and a place that everyone should put on their bucket list.”
Now that Leonard can focus on more familiar surroundings and sporting events, she can’t wait to familiarize herself once again with the competition in the Roanoke Valley and beyond. Although there are a lot of promising schools with up-and-coming sports programs, Leonard currently has her eyes on those schools she holds close to her heart.
“I look forward to covering Virginia Tech again. I’m super-excited to get back up there and see everybody,” Leonard said. “Specifically, I look forward to covering Lord Botetourt High School sports. Let’s be real, that’s where I went to high school. I’ve known Coach Harless for a while now so I’m excited to see them continue to have success.”