This is always a hectic time of the year for me. I used to think it was because I was trying to get ready to rope at the NFR. In fact that was probably the simplest time of getting ready, because all I did was focusing on roping at the finals. And now I’ve got two boys that are playing basketball. I’m calving my commercial heifers out. We are AI’ing my registered cows. I’m shipping my commercial calves. I’m helping Marcos get ready to rope at his first NFR. I’m trying to line guests up for the NFR Countdown Show Jennifer and I do every night at the MGM before the rodeo. I’m serving on the Elevation Sunday team. And trying to inventory six different STS Ranchwear retail booths during the NFR. I didn’t know how good I had it when all I had to worry about was roping one calf a night.
If there is one thing I’ve learned from rodeo is how to keep my eye on the long term goals. I heard a quote the other day that is rodeo in a nutshell for me. “Every road has two ditches” . Which means if you don’t keep your eye on the goal it’s a whole lot easier to fall off in the ditch. It seems like lots of people that I talk to these days it’s a familiar thing about how busy we are, and it’s so easy to get distracted by the world around you. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”. Which brings me back to this time of year. You need to stay focused on all the good things you have going on and not let the little negative things distract you. I always try to use the thanksgiving season for just that. Stepping back and taking a breath and realize all the things that I do have to be thankful for. Like being able to watch my boys play basketball and being able to share the excitement of Marcos’s first WNFR.
I want to congratulate Marcos on winning the AQHA calf-roping horse of the year in the PRCA and winning the AQHA senior open calf roping at the World Show on Sweet As Time aka “Sweet Pea”. And congratulations to all the other contestants who made the 2015 WNFR.
Come watch me and Jennifer every night at 6:00 at the MGM for the WNFR Countdown which also airs live on wranglernetwork.com
Stop by our retail booths which will be located at:
Cowboy Christmas at Las Vegas Convention Center
Christmas Corral by BootBarn at The MGM
NRS at South Pointe Hotel and Casino
Sands Convention Center
Mandalay Bay Giftshow
God bless and see you down the line!
Everybody that wants to be an elite roper has a goal to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo. That goal is hard to attain for any young rodeo athlete, much less a young man that wasn’t born and raised in North America. I couldn’t be more proud of my “adopted son” Marcos Costa. Marcos came to the United States from Brazil, didn’t know our culture, didn’t know our language, and didn’t know anything about Pro Rodeo other than what he had seen on TV. Imagine having to get a driver’s license in a country when you can’t even read the test. Marcos left his family, his friends, and everything he knew to come to a foreign country and chase his dream. All Marcos knew was that he had a dream of making the National Finals. To see the journey from start to finish has been amazing. If you know me at all, you know that I truly LOVE to rope. I love the sport of calf roping. It has been my lifetime passion. I have a true appreciation and connection with people that have that same passion and drive. People have patted me on the back for giving Marcos a home and helping him rodeo, but Marcos has brought so much joy to my life. He inspires me daily. Not only is he a great person, a great roper, but he is also a great horseman. Marcos took a six year old green mare and not only made the National Finals on her, but won 2015 AQHA Horse of the Year.
For me, it’s inspired me to be more for others when called upon. Everybody is on his or her own journey and everybody has a dream. How many people do we come in contact with that we could probably help, even if it is only in a small way, move forward in achieving their goals or reaching their destiny? I’ve seen a lot of great things through the course of my career by watching other pro athletes’ careers. I’ve tried to help where I could, even if it is in a small way. It always amazes me how much you get back when you give. The floodgates open and bring so much joy and satisfaction.
Congratulations to all of the 2015 WNFR qualifiers, I am excited to watch this year’s NFR. Jen and I will be hosting the Wrangler NFR Countdown show again this year at the MGM Grand. You can catch the telecasts on the Wrangler Network. I am excited to announce my friend, Aaron Watson will be singing and speaking at Elevation Sunday on December 6th at the MGM Grand. He latest album has blown up the charts and I am amazed how every song speaks life to people.
Keep up with our social media for latest NFR updates.
God Bless and I’ll see ya down the line.
“Do you know how to practice?”
In organized sports there are a lot of benefits of having a coach, but there are some negatives also. One, some coaches can’t see the potential you have. Two, they can’t measure your heart or your try. Three, if you’re not careful they can hinder your dreams.
When you rodeo it’s just the opposite of organized sports. You are your own coach usually. You control how you prepare, how you practice, and how you perform. And if you’ve ever been to one of my schools or spoke to me about this to any extent you know my stance on this. There is a big difference between practice and simply roping. Most people go to the practice pen and they just rope. When you ask them at the end of their session they would probably say they were practicing when actually they were just simply roping.
Now lets switch back over to organized sports for a second so I can prove my point. Lets take Tim Tebow as my example. In college Tim Tebow was a Heisman Trophy winner and a national champion. Maybe the greatest college quarter back ever. But when he tried to go to the next level he had serious issues with his mechanics. He had been throwing the ball wrong all those years, and he was never forced to deal with it until he went to the next level. And unfortunately for him, up to this point, he has not been able to correct it.
Now lets switch back to roping. In my opinion the difference between practicing and just going through the motions is when you actually address a weakness or a problem. Then you go to whatever measures you need to correct them. This is where the benefit of having a knowledgeable coach that can actually see what you’re doing wrong is a great benefit. Another way to do this would be studying video of yourself. Its common knowledge that it takes 21 days to create a habit, but if you have a bad habit it will take a whole lot longer than that to correct something that you’ve been doing wrong. The first step in all of this is you have to acknowledge your problem or weakness. The next step is you need to figure out or get instruction on how to correct it. And the great and final thing about this is now you can just stop roping and start practicing.
God Bless and see you down the line!
Be Confident In What You Have
I remember whenever I was in junior high and I thought “When I get a little bit taller I will be able to dunk the basketball” I couldn’t wait until I grew just that little bit more that I could be big enough to dunk it. I thought when I can do that I would be set and nobody could stop me. Well I’ll have to say I was wrong. I should have spent more time practicing my shot.
In my life I have to fight that all the time. I am a planner and I always like to be looking ahead. But you have to be careful because you find yourself always looking for the next best thing. The next great horse, the next rodeo, the next good calf, the next year, the next rig, for some it might be the next season. If you’re always looking for the next best thing you might miss out on what you have right now. In psalms it says “For those that trust in the Lord they have all that they need.” You have to remember that God has given you everything that you need for the season that you’re in right now. If you don’t have it right now, you don’t need it right now. In second Samuel 12:8 it says “If you would have needed more, God would have given you more…”
When I was in my 20s, to my knowledge, I only had 1 picture autographed for me. It was from Shawn McMullen. He was signing autographs at the NFR and we got to talking and he was joking around and signed me an autograph. It was my first NFR and I hadn’t even won anything yet and he wrote on the picture “If it ain’t happenin’ now, it just ain’t happenin’ yet.” Little did I know that would be the only chance I ever got to get his autograph. Less than a year later we were in a car wreck together and he died. That picture is framed and hanging in my office still to this day and I look at it every day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that out loud “If it ain’t happening now, it just ain’t happenin’ yet”. I think it’s real important to use what God has given you to accomplish your mission for today. You have exactly what you need to fulfill your destiny. Don’t dismiss yourself or sell yourself short. You have the gifts, the talents, and the abilities to be able to get your job done whatever it might be today. So be confident in that. David just had 5 smooth stones. Sampson just had a jaw bone. Moses had a staff. Don’t underestimate what you have. You have all the right people, tools, and equipment to accomplish your mission. Now be confident enough to go reach your full potential today. If God breathes on what you have, you have more than enough.
God Bless and I’ll see ya down the line.
Don’t Give Yourself an Out
I remember when I was a little boy I had a friend that I always played with. When we would be playing something and he wasn’t winning he wanted to quit or change the rules or play a different game. As a society we are obsessed with winning. How often do we think about winning? Look at how fanatical people get with sports teams, or athletes, or game shows, you can go as far as different politicians. Sometimes success isn’t always about the win. Sometimes the actual win is failure, because it will cause you to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to be better. For me, it is very important whenever I start something I do a lot of soul searching, a lot of talking with people in my family, and talk with my friends about whatever it is I’m planning on doing before I jump in. I don’t want to be someone who gets in the middle of something and at the first sign of adversity or tough times I quit or want to pull the plug.
Example. When you look at a golf ball you think for it to travel and go further it would have to be perfectly round. But when you look at a golf ball it has divots and imperfections which in turn makes it cut the wind better and go farther. It’s the same with us. If you didn’t have the struggles and adversities then you would never reach your full potential. What happens all too often is this. We live in such an instant gratification world, whenever we run into these speeds bumps or hard times we want to change the game or jump ship. The more times you do this the easier it becomes. Don’t be so quick to give yourself an out. When you make a decision to do something be in it for the long haul. When you hit those struggles push through it and don’t allow yourself to take the out.
God Bless. And I’ll see you down the line!
Rain, Rain, Rain
In Isaiah:30 God says, “he will send the rain”, and rain he has sent! Before anybody misunderstands me and thinks that there is one ounce of me that is complaining about the rain, I’m not. I am ecstatic. But I am in a position that I have never been in before. I have never seen it rain this much, this long, this consistent. Along with the large amounts rain brings challenges we don’t normally deal with.
I have two different concerns that arise whenever there is large amounts of rain like this. The first, and it’s always the first for me other than my family because family comes first, are my horses. I don’t like to keep my horses penned up. When I was a kid we never separated our horses. We ran them all together and we always had them out in the pasture. When we fed we fed them all together and fed them out of one big trough, but I’m not that brave anymore. I now keep them separate and it may be because I have a little bit more money invested in them then I did when I was a kid. But a couple things to think about. With rain comes mud. With mud comes thrush, mosquitos, and dirty pens. It’s a good practice all the time to keep your horses’ feet clean, but especially when they are having to stand and walk through mud. The same goes with pens. Always keep a clean pen especially when it’s muddy and make sure the water can drain out. Another issue that you might have that we don’t have to deal with very often is rain rot. Horses and cattle both can get this. If you start to see scabby areas and hair loss this is a sign of rain rot. If this happens you can treat it with an iodine wash and if it is sever then antibiotics.
The second concern is my cattle and the ranch. When you get this much rain you get a lot of runoff. And with runoff comes one thing. Washed out water water gaps. In the middle of a draught everyone dreams of fixing water gaps. And when the rain comes and you’re knee deep in mud, with the cedar flies attacking, that’s when the romance begins! It’s not like it is in the movies. The other thing is when it rains it pours…SNAKES!! And I HATE snakes. The snakes always seem to be out moving around after a rain.
One thing I take advantage of when it rains is a chance to practice in the mud. I’m a firm believer in that you need to be prepared at whatever situation you might have at a rodeo. Most people say when it rains it’s too wet to practice. I know that it probably has happened before, but I have never been to a rodeo that has been canceled because it was too muddy. I’ve always felt like I have had two advantages. One I have practiced in the mud, and two “try has more to do with it then when the conditions are good”. This is something you have to be smart about. I would never saddle my good horse and run ten calves in the mud and take a chance in crippling my horse or my calves. Maybe all you do is run one calf, or flank and tie. Always use common sense and your best judgement. And who knows, you may find out that you have a good mud horse!
Until next time. God Bless and see you down the line.
Learn, Laugh, Love
I’ve talked about this before, but if you know me at all I believe the single most important thing to my success is the importance of the people I surround myself with. I think there is three main things that these people should cause you to do daily. 1) Learn 2) Laugh 3) Love.
Number 1, learn. You should surround yourself with people that cause you to think. I was in Laughlin, NV in the late 90’s at the slack and I decided to do a little experiment. I had 3 brain teasers. Those of you that know anything about a big slack is there is lots of down time. So in conversation amongst the guys that day I threw out these brain teasers. It was amazing how some guys disappeared and how some guys migrated back to me with more questions on how to figure these brain teasers out. Nearly 20 years later I look back at those same guys and see where they are now. If you want to be small minded you talk and think about people. If you want to be average minded you talk and think about events. You want to be great minded you talk and think about ideas. What are the people that you are surrounding yourself causing you to talk/think about?
Number 2, laugh. I don’t know very many people that laugh that are not having fun. The average adult laughs 4 times per day. The average child laughs 200 times per day. It’s very healthy to laugh. When you laugh it releases endorphins that actually cause your body to heal. My last bit of instruction, especially in high pressure situations to anybody I speak to, is go have fun.
Number 3, Love. It tells us in the bible that love always wins. In First Corinthians it says faith, hope, and love and the greatest of these is love. In Romans 8 it says nothing can separate you from the love of god. It’s impossible to be negative whenever you are loving on people. When you’re loving on people, it’s really hard to be completely self- centered. I look for these qualities whenever I am choosing the people I surround myself. Most importantly I strive to have these qualities myself as a husband, dad, and friend.
God bless and until next time, see you down the line.
Cheerleaders or Challengers
Do you surround yourself with cheerleaders or challengers? Its good to have both, but you have to be careful if you have too many of one type and not enough of the other. It’s important to have somebody around that can trump you. You gotta’ be careful if you’re the smartest one in the room. Let me put it this way, you may not be the smartest or know best, but if you’re surrounded by people who are scared to talk then you will think it. You need people around who will call you out when you need it. It doesn’t matter if it’s professional, spiritual, or mental, you need people in your life who will challenge your thinking. If I’m always the smartest then I am always as good as I am. When I’m talking with my dad he most always takes the opposite stance or other side on my ideas. The thinking behind this is to look at it from a different perspective. I don’t need help seeing the good in my ideas. I’m an optimistic type person and can always see the good. Here’s my advice. Don’t be afraid to bring people into your life that have more experience and knowledge in an area than you do. Some people don’t excel because they are at the top of the totem pole in their group or area of expertise. They don’t have any challengers to push them to go even further. People can either be both cheerleaders or challengers. For me I look at my weak areas and see where I need someone who isn’t a cheerleader, but a challenger. People who hold me accountable. I want to make sure I surround myself with people who have the authority to speak into my life. I nearly always learn more when I get a critique rather than a praise.
God Bless. And see you down the line.
Knowing When to Quit
I’ve always believed it’s not how you start, but how you finish. This is true in everything in my life, and it isn’t any different with my horses. I watch people send so many mixed signals to their horses they don’t know whether to jump or lay down. Mostly because the rider really doesn’t know what he wants them to do. My granddad used to have a saying “job him and jerk him”. I didn’t really understand the depth of this statement until I was older. So for those of you who don’t get it, I will take the liberty to try and explain what I think my granddad was trying to say. “Hey fruit loop, you’re sending mixed signals to your horse!”
Some of you may or may not know but there is a young man from Brazil who has been living with me for about a year. His name is Marcos Costa. If you are a fan of rodeo and you don’t know about him, you will very soon! He will definitely be making a name for himself in calf roping this season. What sets him apart from other ropers out there is he is one of the best horseman I have ever been around. He has the ability to do things with horses that I have never seen before. What impresses me most about his horsemanship is his ability to know when to quit. Here’s a quick story to show you what I’m talking about. Marcos was riding a young horse warming him up getting ready to rope. He asked the horse to stop about half speed and the horse stopped half-heartedly on his front end and popped up. Marcos brought him around and asked him to stop again, this time with a little more seriousness. The horse dropped in it like a reiner. At this point Marcos got off, loosened the cinch, and took the skid boots off. He looked at me and said “That’s good for today.” Now there were about 12 people at the house that day wanting to see him rope on this horse. He didn’t run one calf.
I’ve watched so many people not only not know when to stop, but they don’t know when they need to keep on practicing. I believe this is an art in itself. When I am ON that day, that is when I keep going. When I am hitting on all cylinders and I’m in the groove, this is when I do the majority of my practicing. Most people think when they are having a bad day in the arena they need to keep on until they get it right. I call those days Mondays. You need to be smart enough to realize that this may be the day that you are not really in the zone. This is when you need to find a way to quit on a good note. The very last thing I want to have happen is for me to start questioning my ability because of a bad practice day. That’s the whole deal. KNOW WHEN TO QUIT! Like mentioned before, I truly believe the knowing when to quit is an art. Whether it be for you, or your horse, or both.
God Bless. Until next time, see you down the line.
I never claim to be the greatest cowboy that ever lived, but I dang sure have been in the same pasture as a few of ‘em. My granddad, my dad, and my brother are three of the greatest cowboys I know. When I was a little boy my most favorite thing to do was sit and listen to my granddad tell stories about doctoring screw worms, or catching maverick bulls, or hunting coyotes with a pack of greyhounds horseback. The best thing about those stories is my granddad did not exaggerate. He told it like it was and how it happened. Needless to say my dad and granddad’s guardian angles were constantly working overtime. It seems like nearly everyday they were in some kind of crazy scenario or wild wreck. My dad and my granddad were side by side everyday from the day my dad could walk until the day my granddad passed. And even on the day my granddad passed I had never heard an ill word between the two of them.
My dad’s definition of a cowboy is knowing what a cow thinks before she thinks it. Now to the common person that probably doesn’t mean a whole lot. But after you’ve set your butt in a saddle for nine to ten hours in 110 degree heat, or broke a 40 mph wind with a 5 degree windchill, this takes on a whole new meaning when you got a silly cow thats got her head up wanting to come back over the top of you when you’re 200 yards from the gate and you’re trying to stick her in a pen. I feel an obligation as a fourth generation cowboy to be able to pass on this heritage, this legacy of what is somewhat of a dying breed to my kids. More importantly the characteristics of what I feel a true cowboy stands for; Honor and integrity while being true to your faith, your family, and yourself.
I have really enjoyed my new venture with stsranch.com. I hope through this blog I will be able to help carry on this way of life so it wont be gone forever. If you want to read more from this article you can go to stsranch.com.
Until next time, God Bless and See you down the line.