We're all basically starting over right now, and I'm excited about it. I had some time in 2009 to stay home with my family and get some personal things accomplished. I've been working on my horses, and having a great heeler (Clay O.) on my team in 2010 will be a huge advantage. After almost 30 years of doing this, one year turns into the next. You have your highs and lows, and you always look forward to the next year. I go into every year optimistic, and with great expectations. After basically taking 2009 off, I feel ready to go conquer the world again. I'm really excited about getting out there. Having a good fall in 2009 (Jake placed third at the USTRC Finals with Paul Eaves for almost $18,000, and the next week finished third with Clay for $12,000 at Rich Skelton's roping in Boerne, Texas.) was rejuvenating. Now it's about regrouping and taking charge of the new year.
Clay and I are going to concentrate on roping schools and the big ropings, and take the rodeo season as it comes. The plan is to start out at Odessa, then head to the Denver qualifier. We won't get to go to San Antonio or Houston, which is tough when you rope for a living, but that's the price you pay for time off. We'll do the best we can where we can. We'll focus on the ones we can go to, and make the best of those.
There are some really big ropings nowadays too, and since it's all about making a living for us we'll be there. We all need to put a living together, whether it's teaching schools, the ropings or rodeos, or a combination of all of the above. Our team's strength is consistency, so we'll really be concentrating on the ropings this year.
The fire still burns to be the best we can be. Each and every day I wake up searching for a great horse, maintaining that work ethic, practicing hard and thinking about how I can be the best I can be and continue to get better. When it's time to get our game face on, we need to be prepared.
With so much young talent coming in, every year is harder. You have to keep upping your game until the day you throw in the towel. Thinking we can be the best is what keeps everybody entering.
I've been roping a long time and have had success with a few guys, but Clay's the one I've had the most success with. We just seem to do so good together, so roping with him again this year really has me fired up. You know when you turn one that he's going to catch two feet every time. It's almost like you fall off your horse if he ropes a leg or misses. It's just a fact. His catch percentage is so high. It's a luxury knowing he'll catch two feet, no matter what you draw or how bad your handle. That sometimes puts more pressure on the header, because the ball's in my hand every time. How much we win depends on my performance.
With the success I've had in roping you might not think I have anything left to prove. I'm 50 years old, and with all these young kids coming on how could you be excited about jumping into the fire again? That's the heart of a champion. Until you physically can't win anymore, you want to see if you have one more silver bullet left in you. It's exciting to me. It's what I live for-to get up and see if I can still do it. It can be done. Look at what Walt Woodard did.