Preparing your kids to compete
When my daughter first started junior rodeo, I showed her how to find out which steer she drew, who had run him and then to go look at her calf or steer before competing. I told her she needed to make a visual assessment. Did he look sick, thin, fat, or anything else that could hint at how he may run? Then she needed to run the scenario in her mind of what she thought he would do and, ultimately how she would respond. It was something I did back when I competed. I gathered as much information as possible on the steer or calf before I ran him. Finding out his track record enabled me to make an educated guess of what he may do when the gates banged.
All that information goes out the window once the gates bang. You have to watch and react. Hopefully you’ve run the scenarios in your mind of his track record and you’re able to overcome. Just because he’s run left or right five times in a row, sometimes they do the opposite so you have to be prepared to react. Though most of the time they do run the same pattern.
This is important to me because I want my daughter prepared to compete when I’m not there. So, I want her to understand everything she has to do for the best opportunity during competition. I would have her watch the start and then tell me what she was going to see. I’ve seen many kids at the rodeos that don’t ever see the draw, and don’t know what they have. Their parents tell them what the steer is and what the start is. In my opinion that’s not preparing your child for when they will have to do this on their own. Having to do it themselves teaches them to think and figure things out. I want mine to be able to function and compete whether I’m there or not.
I think I help her more by not telling her what the start is. We discuss our opinions and I’ll offer mine if I think she can go a little faster. Like most dads, I will saddle, warm up horses, and do all the things for her that I used to pay a driver or someone to do when I was competing. In doing this, it allows her to prepare her mind and find out what she can do to increase the odds of a successful run. To this day she still calls me her “rope boy.”
We want to give our children the best opportunity to win. But teaching them to think and do things for themselves is essential for them to be successful when you’re not around. That’s a major goal of mine. One of the reasons I quit rodeo is because I wanted to raise my own kids. People ask all the time if I miss competing. At this stage in my life, I’m having more fun than ever. We have people booked for roping lessons day and night. We have people come for a week at a time and we’re able to accomplish a lot that way. My kids are in the arena helping me. I’m teaching them while teaching other people something I love to do. Plus, I get to teach my children life lessons in how to deal with people that will hopefully be very beneficial to them one day.
What I find so funny is when my daughter was little she was a team roper and had no interest in breakaway roping. Now, as it turns out, breakaway is her number one event and she loves it. Like most dads and girls out there, we’re trying to find more breakaway horses. Currently they’re not as expensive as barrel horses, but in time to come they will be very expensive because there are a lot of people looking for them.
What’s new with me: I am very thankful to have a roof over my arena with all the rain we’ve been getting. For the next two weeks we have a 50% chance of rain every day. It’s made scheduling private lessons so much easier. We just got a load of Priefert panels in the other day so we can do bigger schools. Keep an eye out on speedroping.com for upcoming dates this summer.