They say “all good things must come to an end”, I am sure feeling the truth of that this week. As my friends pack their trailers, wrap horses’ legs, and fill fuel tanks, I am standing in the background with a heavy heart. As a college rodeo athlete I knew the day would come when I could know longer compete, however, I did not plan on it being this soon.
As a new chapter in my life begins I am reminded of the college rodeo times that I will miss. All night drives, early morning slack, and Taco Bell for every meal. That was the life. I remember explicitly my sophomore year the trips were never dull. My pick-up broke down either on the way to or from every college rodeo except for two. After a long night sitting in a WalMart parking lot with a broken alternator my hauling partner and I finally arrived in Manhattan, KS at 5 a.m., duffel-bags slung over our shoulders we drug ourselves into the hotel. With morning breakaway slack at 8 a.m. we barely had time for a power nap before we were up feeding horses and preparing for slack. Still, through all those “bad” times I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything. College rodeo is an important part of my life. I am a strong believer that it has helped many young men and women grow into strong and confident adults. The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) helps to build young rodeo athletes in many ways. The officer programs and event directors are great leadership positions that the NIRA offer. The networks and relationships that are built while a member of NIRA are relationships that will last a lifetime. Not to mention, the entertaining rodeo action that is provided. So, if you’re ever bored and want some good quality rodeo entertainment, check out the NIRA schedule and go enjoy a college rodeo performance. You won’t be disappointed, and if you’re feeling up to the challenge I’m sure afterward you could convince some cowboy for a game of pool.
I wish I was sitting in that pick-up seat with Cody Gaines playing through the speakers and my friends by my side. I wish I would be getting up early in the morning preparing for morning breakaway slack. Cheering on fellow athletes and occasionally being guiltily-thankful of someone else missing their calf. I will miss the good competition, good times, and great friends. The bright side to all this is that rodeo is not a sport that ends after college. I will continue to travel the rodeo road, but from now on it will be in a different circuit. Nonetheless, I wish the best of luck to all my friends and fellow rodeo athletes on the beginning of the 2013-2014 rodeo season.
Good luck ya’ll, just spur ’em in the neck!
This photo is of my good friend Lyndsay Wood and myself. I hope she tears it up in Colby, KS.
– Get Punchy, Love K