with Buddy Hawkins II
year, it’s guaranteed that someone’s going to win the world and someone’s going to end up 16th. This year, I ended up in that number-16 hole, and I don’t take being 16th lightly. I strategized, planned and did everything that I knew to do. Looking back, I never made a decision that was the easy way out or a decision that cost me, ultimately.
I would handle this worse if I thought I’ve peaked in my roping. I am a slow learner, but I’m a hopeless optimist. Success is not a straight line, it’s peaks and valleys. I went to the best rodeos that I could get to—feasibly. I rode the best horses that I had access to. I’m headed the direction that I want to go, which has taken me longer than someone else but we each have our own journey there.
I want to max out and be the best that I can be. If I had maxed out and had peaked as a heeler and was 16th, that would be kind of deflating to feel like in my entire life there was nothing that I could ever do better or in my future, nothing that I could do better to surpass that.
Jade Corkill said in one of his videos, “If I wear my shoulder out, good. I’ll know I did everything I could to be the best I can be.”
I have things that I’m willing to sacrifice and things I’m not. I won’t sacrifice my family or my faith, but my health is up for grabs. We’re all dying for something, and this is what I’m living and dying for, right now.
When I was a kid, I was home schooled. We weren’t allowed to say “can’t”. Now I’m an adult, so I can say whatever I want: I can’t quit. I’m too vested to quit.
I want to be someone who goes down in history as one of the greats and not just good. Many of the greats have fallen just short of the goals that they’ve set at different times and a lot of times it gives you a better perspective on what you’d like to achieve. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to do what I love for a living. I think we justify doing what we shouldn’t a lot of times and we make excuses for not doing what we should.
Les Brown, a motivational speaker, has a quote that I like. He says, “If someone else has done it, then just maybe I can do it, too.” Somebody has come back from 16th and won the gold—it’s happened. You can always find integrity in believing that there’s a chance that you can have what you want.
My partner fell short of making the finals, too. When we started roping in November 2016, we set out to make the WNFR and ultimately battle it out for a championship as a team. We both were in there for a while this year, and we both fell short. In the winter, we really didn’t rope up to our ability; in the summer, we roped medium; and in the fall, we roped poorly again.
What set me up for failure is that I didn’t get qualified for a lot of the events that help you. It’s not any one run, it’s every run. It’s every error that you made during the year that cost you.
I know the solution for being defined by my place in the standings that works: Don’t focus on where you are or where you came from. Last year I was 47th, and if I would have let that define me, then I wouldn’t have been 16th this year.
Obviously, failure is a possibility, but it’s not an option.