“One, you have to really love it. Two, you have to sacrifice things for it. Three, you get out of it what you put into it, and four, always dream big, because you never know what’s going to happen.” — Joe Beaver.
That is rodeo in a nutshell, it is the most humbling sport there is. One minute you are on top of the mountain with everyone wanting to shake your hand, and the next thing you know, you are on the bottom and no one remembers you.
Now, when Joe says “sacrifice things for it,” that may mean staying in the practice pen all night roping calves until you are out of that slump, or even missing your high school or college graduation to head to another rodeo that will hopefully help you get ahead in the standings.
If you follow rodeo closely you can see that the standings change all the time. That’s because cowboys don’t have to go to all of the same rodeos as each rodeo has different payouts. Some rodeos have a way larger pay scale while others have a smaller one.
Each rodeo is in charge of coming up with the prize money for each event, so each year the prize money may vary. And when the money changes, the number of cowboys and cowgirls entered will also change. Participants get to pick and choose whether they want to drive that far, or if the animal they drew is worth the drive to that particular rodeo. The weather is always changing, too; it could be sunny and warm the day your friend goes and the next day when you are up, the arena could be fully emerged in water. And the answer is no, you do not get to wait for the arena to dry out. Your options are either to draw out of the rodeo or to give it all you’ve got and take a chance.
This sport is unlike any other. There are no coaches picking teams, trying to get the best athletes. Everyone is for themselves, all trying to become world champions just like one another. The people you may choose to travel with to each rodeo might be your main competition, but you still help them in the box, tell them what you saw out on that calf or what you gave that bronc on the buck rein last weekend.
Even though cowboys are all competing for the same thing, they help each other and want to see each person do the best they can. Cowboys are some of the most humbling people there are. They will help anyone they can, from kids at rodeos to their competition.