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.