It Starts Again (Down the Line, Stran Smith)

When you win a big rodeo or championship, it’s real easy to talk about how blessed you are when they stick a microphone in your face. But when you don’t win, that reveals what you’re really made of and how strong your faith is.

For the last two years I’ve come so close to a championship I could taste it. In fact, the last Sunday of the finals I got to rope last which meant at that point in time I was leading the standings. Hard as I tried, it didn’t work out.

Do you accept defeat and have a pity party? I can assure you the guest list will be pretty short if you do.

Immediately I started thinking about how to improve and how to prevent repeating the mistakes I made last year. During the ninth round of the national finals I told Jennifer, my wife, that I couldn’t wait until the next year started.

It wasn’t always like this. In the late 90’s I was tired of roping and rodeo and when I didn’t do well I wanted to quit. Since roping is my job, quitting wasn’t a viable option.

Then when I had heart surgery a couple of years ago and couldn’t rope, it gave me a new outlook. I decided then if I was going to come back, that I’d come back better than before and from then on wouldn’t allow myself to have any negative thoughts.

Afterwards I worked hard and stayed positive. The more I improved, the more I craved it. Knowing I can keep getting better has ignited a passion that makes me want it more than ever. I guess it’s like lifting weights – the more you do it and improve, the more you want to.

Recently I was asked to speak at a Junior High School. I told those kids that life is all about choices. The choices we make will determine the route our life takes. Here’s what I choose:

I don’t get emotional about roping because I don’t allow it. It just gets in the way and isn’t productive. I don’t allow any negative thoughts. I stay positive and concentrate on making positive changes. I’m not my own enemy because I choose to stay out of my way.

I choose not to get in the way of being blessed the way God wants to bless me. I’m the only one who can keep myself from receiving those blessings.