My blog has definitely been weak this year as I’ve been at home riding colts since February. The Goob apparently had different year end goals than I did and his included staying in Bulverde to see if we could survive our first Texas Summer. I’m happy to report we did… and we don’t want to do it again.
My rule for writing is if something crosses my mind multiple times, I like to put it on paper. One of those thoughts has been rumbling around in my brain since early this Spring. I overheard a ‘big dog’ competitor say “I’m not out here to make friends…”.
That’s a loaded statement isn’t it? While I don’t enter rodeos and pay thousands of dollars to drive my rig around and socialize, I consider many people I’ve met along the way my family and friends that I deeply value. I love people. I love interesting stories and tales of those who actually help others or in some way inspire fellow competitors or hopefuls. We can all use a little inspiration at some point!
My inspiration today is the name listed at #16 in the WPRA World Standings. I was entered in the slack in New Braunfels, Texas the same morning as the current NFR Arena Record Holder, Taylor Jacob. It was the last week to earn money for the World Standings and the week that determined who makes the 2016 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas come December. Taylor had dropped to the 16th position and was currently in a knife fight for that last spot.
When you are a professional rodeo contestant, you go all year long and thousands of miles with one goal in mind; the bright lights of Vegas. When I saw Taylor I’m sure she felt like someone was standing at the edge of the pool and holding her head under water. It came down to just a couple of rodeos and when it was all said and done only $2886 separates her and the 15th position.
As a race secretary, a competitor and just someone who likes to talk, I’ve seen Taylor Jacob in a few different situations. She has always been the same. That would be my point for my post today. She has my respect, my admiration and I would tell you I am a fan of the barrel racer from Carmine Texas. Whether I’m sitting on a horse next to her in Omak, Washington, taking an entry from her with a pencil behind my ear or walking past her when she’s down to the last week to add another NFR qualification to her resume…she has always smiled, been friendly, approachable and someone who, if I owned a company, I would be proud to have one of those sponsored patches on her shirt. As a rodeo and barrel racing fan, she represents being a “Professional” rodeo competitor the way I would hope more would.
Taylor Jacob is my kind of competitor. I’m bummed that she didn’t make the finals, it wasn’t a fair fight as her good horses were down and out…but she handled it like a Champ and I would dang sure say she went down with both fists up in 2016. There’s that saying that ‘tough times don’t last but tough people do’ and I guarantee you, she will re-group and come back swinging next year. If you see her out on the road, on the TV or a video scrolls past your Facebook feed…she’s a good reminder to keep your chin up, put a smile on your face and remember that you never know when you might inspire or have an impact on someone.
Be humble. Stay Genuine. Work Hard.
The Salinas Rodeo in July is my all-time favorite. The coastal California weather is unbeatable at that time of year and the rodeo itself, over 100 years old, is rich in tradition, history and uniqueness. It doesn’t hurt that the Goob and I have done well there over the last couple of years either…
In 2015 he and I made the best run we’ve put down on the track to date. We were pulled over to the side and I was taking his boots off, still puffing from our run, my heart pounding from the thrill and excitement of hearing “new leader on the track”. I looked up just in time to see a little sorrel horse on a march toward the pattern. That was the best way to describe it. It was a confident march…a winning walk that looked more than determined.
I had a tough day the other day. Had to actually throw away a couple pairs of pants I’ve been packing around for a decade and accompanied that with just as many ratty t-shirts. I said a few words and asked my Montana friend if she would go shopping with me. She agreed. Our first stop was Teskeys where I successfully picked up numerous items for each and every horse. Exciting things like hobbles, chins straps, fly spray a muck bucket, sweat scraper and a few extra sets of water ties. (more…)