Dear Roper, 

November is a month of thanks, even in 2020, when we may have to look a little harder for things to be thankful for.

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But I’ve survived this year by counting my blessings—and this magazine, this team and this audience has been on my list every day. Th ere is such a thing as work-life balance, but that’s never really been my jam. My best friends are in this industry, putting on, writing about and entering team ropings. My family ropes, and even in the early days of this pandemic, the arena was the place we took refuge from the uncertain world. I’m thankful for the team roping industry, the horses who brought me to it and the team I work with who make this whole thing work. 

I’m thankful that we’ve kept our jobs, when so many haven’t been so lucky this year. I’m thankful for our health because—though our team has been hit by many a health crisis in our time together—we’ve been spared much of the pain so many are enduring this year.

I’m thankful this job grants me early morning flights out and late-night flights home, so I can squeeze in as much time with my family as possible, while still serving our audience

I’m thankful you all read this magazine, listen to ‘The Score’ and visit our websites—including breakawayropingjournal.com. If you haven’t checked that site out yet, it’s our newest venture in celebration of the hard-won growth of breakaway roping, and writing for it inspires me in new ways every day.

Come Thanksgiving, I know I’ll be thankful for time with our family, for a few days off , before our team splits ways for the first time. Some of us will head south to Texas in early December for the NFR, while others will head to the South Point to enjoy the Vegas hospitality we’ve loved for more than a decade now.

I hope you’ll find the same peace this month. I promise you—finding grace, peace and gratitude has been a struggle for me this year. But I’m practicing gratitude, and this column this month is an exercise in that. By all means, please join me in my efforts. 

Chelsea Shaffer 

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