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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.

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