The First Jackpot Back

Dear Roper, 

As the April 2020 issue went to press at the beginning of March, I was heading to Disney World for the perfect family vacation, filled with princesses and magic. 

But the world looks a whole lot different as it hits your mailboxes this week. The optimism of spring, though, and of this April cover, isn’t lost. We’re thinking about that first jackpot back… 

We’re staying hooked in this industry, imagining that first Saturday morning of getting up early, with horses slicked-out and clean. Braiding manes, strapping on Soft Rides and loading the trailers, with pads and saddles stacked in the back tack. 

Filling our trucks up with fuel, strolling into the gas station and holding the door for the person behind us, buying some jerky and Gatorade, making sure the Yeti is filled with ice. 

Pulling into the roping and shaking hands—gloves still tucked in our belts—with our buddies. Letting the kids play together under the bleachers with their toy trucks and trailers and horse and cattle sets.  

Loping our horse, tie-down snapped to the breast collar, around the warm up pen, just knowing he’s sharp after 30 days of solid practice at home. Shaking out that loop from the rope we’ve had set back, the one that felt so perfect when we untwisted it that first time that we knew we’d save it for a day this special. 

Feeling those jitters that we haven’t felt since we were kids, anxious to hear our names called for the first time in what feels like forever. Hearing the crack of the rope as it snaps on the horns because, well, that’s what we’ve been practicing. 

Living for that first high-five after knocking down four in a row with our partner—the partner who lived within riding distance, who we could keep practicing with and who stayed healthy through this mess. 

Sitting down with our families, at our favorite steakhouse just down the road, with the horses unsaddled and munching on hay in the trailer, windows folded down. Pulling back into the house, unloading and feeding, with more gratitude than we’ve ever had before. 

Laying our heads on our pillows that night, thanking the Lord that we’re through this, and praying for those we lost. 

So as you thumb through this issue on your coffee table at home, my hope is that is helps keep the hope and faith in your hearts for that first jackpot back. 

Stay well, 


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