When we left the bronc rider last week he was coming off a good ride from a decent horse in Florida. He considered it a good warm up horse for the big PRCA rodeos coming up this winter. All week he’d been brimming with excitement for the 2 bucking horses he’d drawn for the upcoming weekend. One in the Sandhills of Texas and the other in crawfishing Cajun country, Louisiana. His exact words are quoted as, “If you had to hand pick ’em…these 2(horses) would be in everybody’s top 3.”
Part of a guys success in the saddle bronc is how lucky he can be drawing a good horse and then how well he can execute a stellar performance. Our cowboy was already winning part of the rodeo, so to speak, just from the good fortune of his draw. So blessed he was to draw big scoring horses! Not a clinker! Now, all he had to do was show up with his A-game…spur a bronc…have a little fun…and have a good chance for a check.
Rodeo plans started kinda falling apart mid-week when his traveling partner decided NOT to rodeo this winter and fly some helicopters instead. It’s a lot easier to be on the road when you’re surrounded by another guy or two who can help with expenses…drive time…keep you motivated…give you riding tips…or be your wing man at the bar. But, being the resilient man he is, he created no stress for himself and didn’t worry about being solo for the loooooooooong haul to Odessa. (FYI: Odessa isn’t close to anything, no matter where you’re coming from). He got some good advice from a trusted buddy to fly into an airport out west, rent a car, go to Rodeo #1, fly out the next morning back to H-town, and drive like hell to get to the afternoon perf at Rodeo #2. GREAT idea!
Woulda, shoulda, coulda…the bucking horse in the Ector County Coliseum at Rodeo #1 was really good! So good that the bronc rider didn’t make the whistle. He’s not one to use the “F” word very much but when asked what happened, his exact words were, “I F’ed him up.” No more elaboration than that. No worries though. There’s another great bucking horse with his name on it just waiting for him at Rodeo #2. On to the next one!
When you’re sitting on an airplane at 7 a.m. with a big, busy day ahead of you the last thing you want to hear the pilot say over the intercom is “maintenance delay.” When you’re still sitting on the tarmac an hour later, your heart is beating a little faster, your patience is wearing thin, and your chances of getting on a furry bucking horse that day are looking sad. The first delayed flight made him miss the second connecting flight. Now, there was no way possible for him to make it in time for Rodeo #2; he still had to drive a few hours once the plane had landed. Dang you American Airlines! (More reasons to LOVE Southwest Airlines!).
The weekend that was supposed to be filled with high scoring rides, smiles, and maybe some paychecks was replaced with a buck off, maybe a tear or two, and a decreased balance in his checking account. But being a champion isn’t always defined by how much you win, it also pertains to how well you lose. He told me while he was waiting on planes all morning, watching his afternoon fall apart…he spent a lot of time reading Bible verses saved in his phone, praying, and counting his blessings.
Next stop…Grand National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. -C-