Rodeoing with my son

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Breaking it Down – September 2022

Gabe and I qualified for the WCRA rodeo in Salt Lake City which was happening at the same time as the National High School Finals in Gillette. I called the man who owned the steers at Salt Lake, and he said they were slow to medium. The barrier is the same as the box, meaning you have to see from a hip to flank from the pin to make a good run on slow cows. We’re the last team out and have a black heifer that looks good. We have to beat Clay Tryan and Jake Corkill who were 5.4 on their steer. There was four performances and the winner of each makes it back to the short round on Monday. The top three fastest teams who don’t win their performance also make it.

So, now we just have to make a good clean run to have a chance to come back on Monday. When I nod, the steer doesn’t start, and I pick up on my horse. Then the steer leaves me. I have a pet peeve where I am not going to run to the back end and not throw my rope. There haven’t been many times where I’ve not thrown it when I thought I had a chance to hit the cow. We go about four jumps down the arena, and I throw my rope, just thinking it might hit him and it goes around the horns. I threw all my rope, barely got a dally and didn’t quite get it all the way around the horn. I’m able to turn the steer and put a lot of effort into holding on to my rope. The cow switches and my son pulled off an outstanding heel shot. I didn’t do a very good job of using my right leg to face, because I was focused on holding on to my rope. My horse kind of stopped and took a step back. The rope popped out and I never got faced. The video of this run got about 200,000 views on Facebook and everyone was talking about what a reach it was.

Maybe so, but I did a poor job of riding my horse and there were several things that went wrong in that run. Yes, I’ve had a lot of success and won a lot. When you make a tactical error for your partner, it’s one thing. But when you do it for your son, it’s different.

Once we got home, I started working on some issues with my horse. When I first got him, he didn’t face well because of prior injuries. If I ride him correctly, he faces well, if I don’t, then he doesn’t face well. I’m currently working on a video where I talk about what we’ve been working on since Salt Lake City. They’ve moved Gabe to a #9 heeler so he and I couldn’t rope in the #16 the other day. I roped with True Lacina, my horse worked outstanding, and we won the roping. Gabe looked at me and said, “Dad you win with everyone else.”

Currently we are in San Antonio at the Rose Palace for a World Series Open roping. We stopped at Rich’s today on the way through. I took both my good horse and practice horse and spun some cows for Gabe and Rich. It was like the old days coming over the chute and letting them go at some.

Right now, my back is doing well and I’m happy to be able to rope and ride. You don’t realize how much you miss it until you’re incapable of doing anything. I’ve got my son where he can heel and he finds it so funny when I tell him, “Buddy, you’re ready, but your dad and his horse are not ready.” We’re going to go to some open ropings and test the waters while the pros are gone to the summer rodeos.

I want to teach my son about preparation and what it takes to win. People don’t realize how much preparation it takes to be ready to compete on the first steer. You need your horse warmed up and be ready mentally and physically. It’s a dream come true to be able to rope with my son. I can remember being here at the Rose Palace and Hali was roping and Gabe was helping her. He asked when he would get to enter a roping and I told him whenever he started practicing. He replied he wanted to enter some ropings and it was music to my ears. For so long he didn’t care anything about it, but now it’s all day, every day. My wife often reminds me this is what I wanted.

Staying booked with private lessons at my house is a dream come true for me. I’m able to teach my clients the same things I’ve taught my kids. I’ve had a lot of kids come for lessons lately and their fathers are usually frustrated with them not riding correctly. They are amazed once I put them on the Speed Trainer and show them how to ride, swing, and use their left hand correctly and NOT use the reins for balance, nor use their legs to hang on. The Speed Trainer has allowed me to teach my kids and clients how to practice without ruining their horses. The light and buzzer on the Speed Trainer lets you know when you’re pulling. If you’re sitting still on a stationary horse and pulling, you can be sure you’re pulling while you’re riding down the arena.

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