I am truly so proud of my husband for contributing in making a stand against the changes that have been made to the PRCA. Cheyenne Frontier Days is only one example of the many decisions that have been made without the approval of those of us directly affected. Knowing that he is in a vulnerable position going into this summers rodeo season and without a doubt willing to put the future of the sport he loves above any potential payday is proof of his and the rest of the top 50s integrity. The Calf Ropers and Steer Wrestlers involved in this boycott 100% are doing this not selfishly but selflessly, and I commend and support their actions. Rodeo participants are neglected, underestimated and pushed aside when it comes to profit for the PRCA when in fact they are the ones fighting so desperately to save it. I hope by removing their names, their entry fees and their talent from the arena in Cheyenne, WY the PRCA and committees will begin to brainstorm a solution that benefits not just themselves, but also the cowboys and cowgirls that fill their bank accounts.
All year we obsess over the world standings, obsess over who is going to be in Vegas come December and even though its an 80 degree sunny spring day all those cowboys are thinking… “Winter is coming.”
I think there is a stigma with anyone who has made the finals, almost like we all assume the reason they made it wasn’t just because they rope/ride well but also because they had an “in.” Whether it be someone lent them an outstanding horse, they have sponsors to pay their way down the road, and my personal fav they have “luck”
As a backseat driver it’s easy to come up with excuses of why someone else is having more success, but when you are a backseat driver, you tend to have blind spots. Since being fortunate enough to watch my husband make the finals the last few years I’ve come to understand not only the behind the scenes work he’s put forth, but also the heartbreaks and the stressors that were caused by someone who has made the finals. It’s a double edged sword. They have the opportunity to live their dream, but their relationships, body and sanity are impeded. Vegas is so glamorous and rodeo announcers, sponsors and the athletes themselves are so good at celebritizing their standing status that the exhaustion and frustration is over shadowed.
For example, while competing at the NFR (where they have worked endlessly all year to get to), the cowboys/girls actually are entering their first rodeo of the next year. Which means they basically get to turn their horse out in the dead of winter for Christmas and New Years and then its grind time again. Not only that but as luck may have it, they could have a harsh dry spell for the new year which can definitely be an ego deflation after being so high at the finals.
Emotionally they are spent. Physically their spent (basically the walking dead.) Most of all, the families are spent. We finally get them home for the holidays and bam…. the success of the past year has now someone slid far into the “when is our next payday” of the current year. Ryle and my relationship has always been long distance, and even though we own a home together, have a child together, travel occasionally together, half of our relationship if not the majority of it is still long distance.
The fine print that comes with riding in the Thomas and Mack goes on forever, but the point is, they made it there with a strong will, raw talent, hard work and a hell of a list of sacrifices. So for the past, present and future top 15 Winter is coming. Good luck to you all in your fight for the iron throne, I mean gold buckle.
Western fashion has taken over my newsfeed and I quite honestly have an obsession, but I have tried and failed to adopt its ways, the truth of the matter is I personally will always choose black over serape. Which happens to be a metaphor for this blog…. western lifestyle bloggers are gearing up for busy season with the 2018 NFR in the horizon, and I, a western lifestyle wanna-be blogger with a social media full of makeup inspiration should also be posting about cosmetic trends I foresee in the near future. Yet here I am, pondering the fate of the PRCA instead of why velvet plum toned lipstick and berry glosses are what you should be packing for Vegas (they are what you should be packing for Vegas). As much as I appreciate fashionable material objects, I can’t passionately blog about them. So, for that I apologize. Now kick off your Miss Macie Boots and hang up your custom Charlie 1 Horse, lets talk rodeo…
Recently there was another meeting with new CEO of the PRCA, which of course got all the cowboys gossiping about how they feel they’ve been wronged or how their bullet proof ideas should be assumed immediately. Personally I respect George for even having guts enough and patience enough to show up at these rodeos and listen to the athletes in a meeting type setting. *please read next sentence with all of the sarcasm you can muster* Especially this time of year when the exhaustion tends to bring out all the best qualities of each member. So kudos on his bravery, and also for his enthusiasm for financial growth. But now, my suggestion (I already know it means nothing to most definitely anyone with power within the association, its my opinion and Hell, isn’t that what the internet is for?!)
We all know George is a very experienced and Successful man, but its probably safe to say he doesn’t know what its like to enter a rodeo, compete at and rodeo, survive off of the income from rodeoing or even how to physically put on a rodeo. So my suggestion is this. Slow down, live the lifestyle as best you can by showing up, observing these athletes in their preparations, talking to the secretaries and judges, getting know them on a personal level, helping the stock contractors feed and care for our beloved livestock, learn ProCom, how it works and find its flaws, because we all have. And for the LOVE of all things rodeo, please. PLEASE put some thought into a QUALITY live coverage vessel. Quality being key, with the technology available to us this day and age, the quality of show we can put on should be of high standards. What we choose to share with the world will determine whether rodeo will survive as entertainment or shrink into its own secret society. Rodeo fans deserve excellent coverage and easy access to their sport.
The law of momentum states that an object in motion will stay in motion until it meets a resisting force. So yes, you must push forward, but you must also relieve any resistance in your path prior to your push. We all want that metallic, fringe, turquoise embossed, hand stitched number, but we also gotta keep those classic black Justin Boots on hand cuz Lord knows you do a lot of walking in Vegas.
A year ago I sat in my newborns nursery, holding her as she slept and crying harder than I should have (probably due to hormones) as I watch my husband win $70,000 at The Days of 47 Cowboy Games. Today I’m watching my one year old nap while my husband prepares for his chance to do it again and wether or not he wins or loses I can’t help but to feel this overwhelming sigh of relief and such gratitude. I am so lucky, I have a healthy and happy baby girl with a father that loves both of us unconditionally and who provides for us doing what he loves. But, then again I’m not lucky, because it isn’t luck that got me here. All the heartbreak, the hurt, the mistakes I thought I made. For every near death experience I had, it was only to make me feel more alive. They were all for a purpose, they were the lows that made my highs unimaginably tall. Every step back I thought I was taking, was really a redirected step in where I was supposed to go. I never believed that you were born to a path, but the more I reminisce, the more I realize I am not lucky, I am just where I need to be.
So here’s my address to you. Let go of any guilt and trust yourself. You are right where you need to be.
I don’t know, I mean it only indirectly affects me because it’s what my spouse does for a living, I’m just not sure how I feel about this new, fast moving direction that the PRCA is headed. There are a lot of positive changes that I personally feel needed to happen, such as opening the doors for new sponsors, which in turn is opening a lot of doors for broadening not just the that specific brands audience, but also shining a few more lights on the sport itself.
BUT… (yeah, here it comes…) I can’t help but to feel like the positive changes might possibly be distracting us from a more sinister, unintentional (I hope) evolution of rodeo. Maybe I have been watching too many conspiracy theory YouTube videos, in fact, I know I have been. I also don’t know much about PBR which seems to be the muse for this new direction. I just have a few aching uncertainties….
1. That the rate of change is not going to allow for proper execution. Much like what I interpret as what happened to the ERA. Originally a great idea, another goal to achieve for some of the rodeo athletes that had already achieved a gold buckle, a lot of fan favorites continuing to compete, but also allowing for a transition out of a grueling rodeo career. It in respects seemed to get lost in the hype and became more of a revenge or competition to the PRCA rather than a complimentary association. I just read an email that was sent to members explaining the newest relationship between The American and the PRCA, and I saw a few concerning phrases such as “tentative” and “yet to determine” that just make me feel slightly uneasy?! Again, like I said before… I DON’T KNOW, but I just feel like such a life changing rodeo might-should have a fully developed rules and regulations regarding its partnership prior to it going public. (insert shrugging emoji)
2. By having more of these extravagant, modern events with such huge victories are we drifting away from our origin and now over shadowing other athletes and rodeos that may otherwise not have the means to compete with such an event. Also, in that same breath are we letting the idea of fame and fortune take away from what I believe our morals are; work hard to achieve your dreams, being successful doesn’t only equate to your bank account, and being happy has no relation to fame. Having such hugely produced rodeos with light shows, and fireworks and a limited number of qualifiers/athletes being broadcasted seems less like rodeoing for the love of rodeo and more like rodeoing for celebrity status. (insert another shrugging emoji)
I truly believe that the intentions behind the new PRCA changes are good and are being done with the members, fans and business partners well being in mind. I can’t stress to you enough that I DON’T KNOW what it takes to lead an association, especially one that has been so unchanged for so long, and to be honest, I DON’T KNOW much about rodeo as a whole. Other than an uneasy feeling I have no right to be concerned. So, what do you think? Are you all in? are you uneasy? Could you not care any less?
I am no rodeo expert, I did not grow up in or even remotely close to rodeo. In fact, until I started dating a calf roper I had never even acknowledged or attended a rodeo. Which is sad, because now knowing what I know, I only want to expand its audience and share it with other people like myself who are oblivious to a highly underrated sport. I’d also like to honorably mention that I feel that I (feel being the key word, referring to this as my opinion) can prove once and for all that not all liberal hippies believe rodeo to be animal abuse, in fact my favorite and most used line in defense when accused of sympathizing with PETA solely for the fact that I am a lefty is “to whom do you believe is filling the stadium at St. Paul, Oregon?” Anyway, where this is leading……. I have a few suggestions for committees, sponsors and board members. Rodeo, unlike other sports, was not created out of entertainment, but instead grew out of practices used by ranchers dating back to the sixteenth century. Bronc riding, calf roping, bull fighting, etc. are all events with deep roots in the ranching world. So, here’s my theory about rodeos plateaued popularity. Todays culture is all about high stimulation, loud and bright ads, provocative entertainment. When rodeo begins to adopt these behaviors, it loses its purity and historical importance and really to be frank, in its effort to fit in it becomes a joke. Many rodeos to date have added laser lights, pyrotechnics, seriously and literally setting fire to the ground…. Que eye roll. Not only do these additions take away from any budgets that may be in place, but it also puts itself on a platform to compete with concerts, clubs and raves. Now, say you are in a “I’m going out” kind of mood, like you want that base to jar your body so hard you feel like you have to take a shit (I’m not kidding, my sister told me once that there is some octave that a base can hit that makes your body shit itself, she could have lied, I’m not musically inclined) are you going to go to a Cardi B concert or are you going to Rodeo? But now let’s say you aren’t looking forward to loud aggressive entertainment, but some fun, low key and relaxed family-friendly fun on the weekend, are you going to go to Cardi B or a Rodeo? My point is this, Rodeo will never be able to compete with Waka flocka flame or Club Get Lit (not a real club).. so don’t. Just like I will tell my daughter when she is growing up and insecure about her differences… Be original, think independently and be true to who you are. whoever it is that is convincing rodeos to conform to this weird world we live in, Stop. Instead stick to the wholesome and historical truth that rodeo is. As a new comer I appreciate the respect between animal and athlete, I fell in love with idea that the agricultural and ranching worlds celebrate their beginnings with rodeo. I am not entertained by lasers and fire, but by Bobbi Kerr and his Mustangs, by Nellie Williams-Miller and her homegrown mare, by my husband and his dedication to the sport.
I’m beyond grateful for the adventure and freedom that has come from being a rodeo wife. I haven’t worked since the year my husband and I married, which just so happens to coincide with the first year he made the NFR. As I said before, I’m grateful for the opportunity to do what I want when I want, go where I go with whom I want to go and raise my daughter in a lifestyle I’m proud to be a part of. However, I miss my old grind more and more everyday. It’s one of those consequences that some of us full time rodeo WAGS seem to bury and hide. Kind of like the fact that we just wore our really expensive sponsored boutique western wear in a hot Port-a-potty full of aggressive flies and Redneck vomit just before we instagrammed our #OOTD.
Twice now I’ve tried to go back to my pre-rodeo career and twice I’ve failed. It seems Rodeo just isn’t finished with me yet. My first attempt was a serious tragedy! Prior to moving to TX, I’d interviewed and accepted a job offer from a beautiful young business owner whom I clicked with instantly. In fact my interview lasted 3hours because we got so caught up in conversation. Just a week before we were to relocate and I was to jump start my career I got one of the most surreal and tragic phone calls. My new boss had suddenly passed away and her husband wasn’t sure if he would continue or sell her business….. it sold. My second attempt was more recently when I had finished and passed through a video interview for MY DREAM JOB. I was offered a final interview and kindly had to decline because my husband, who has still thankfully been successful in his rodeo career aka extreme gambling begged me to reconsider. So here I am, co-piloting a rodeo rig, forever chute help, meal prepping for a one year old and an athlete, and acting as a personal travel agent.
Let’s get real. The point is (to my husband and maybe a few others out there as well)….
husbands, boyfriends, lovers or partners who are blessed with a full time rodeo assistantship; please for the love of god, when you begin to complain, or make excuses, or just simply hangry on the rodeo trail; remember this…. this was not our dream. We have now adopted your dream, we want so badly for you to succeed that we’ve willingly and are actively suppressing our dreams to help you achieve yours. Because we love you and ultimately we love rodeo, just be mindful of that next time you become sour. We are lucky to have stumbled into this life with you, but maybe, perhaps you are even luckier to have had us stumble upon you. Because maybe that extra support was just what you needed to handle that stress, because maybe that love is what helped you to push your dream further, because maybe our sacrifices are what catapulted you into your dreams.