February 2017 (Down the Line, Stran Smith)

Stran_headshotAs a sports fan, this is one of my favorite times of the year. NFL and College playoffs are going on right now.  I have the opportunity to listen to sports talk radio a lot while I am feeding my cows.  I always enjoy listening to the older, retired players and their perspective of when they played this time of the year.   It has made me reflect on my own career.  I came to this conclusion.  Some things you never get over.  You just learn to live with them.  I will never forget one particular moment in my life.  It was in 2005 after the 10th go round at the WNFR.  I came into that go round in the lead, won the go round, but lost the gold buckle by $1400.00.  Now up this point, every time you win a go round, you take a victory lap, and go to a huge buckle presentation at the South Point Hotel and Casino.  Usually I would be ecstatic to win a go round, but I am numb and disgusted that I had lost the World Championship.  I was walking down the media tunnel underneath the Thomas and Mack and passed a PRCA employee who nonchalantly tossed my go round buckle to me.  I stopped and immediately took my San Anton buckle off (one that I had worn my whole career) and put this 10th go round buckle on my belt.  I wanted a consistent reminder of that feeling, and a visible reminder to never let that happen again.

Fast forward 3 long years, past a couple of surgeries and many sleepless nights. In 2008, I was very fortunate to win the World Championship.  Looking back now, I wouldn’t change the way things played out.  It was all God’s perfect timing.  The journey was an experience I will never forget.

I feel like it’s very important to never be satisfied but learn to be content. My good friend, Marcos Costa, had a couple of really bad breaks that cost him a gold buckle.  We have discussed it several times since WNFR.  He could dwell on those breaks, or simply realize that it just wasn’t his time.  If I know anything, it’s Romans 8:28… “God works in all things.”  If we will allow God to work in HIS time, the result will be better than you can ever imagine.

The good and the bad about gold buckles is only a few are privileged to win them. I am so pleased for Tyson Durfey.  I know this has been a dream come true for he and his dad.  He has worked so hard, and it is very well deserved.  Congratulations to Tyson and his whole family.  Nothing like celebrating Christmas with a precious healthy baby and a gold buckle to boot.  Congratulations to all of the World Champions.  You have reached the pinnacle of your sport.

Until next time God bless and I’ll see you down the line.

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