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Three years ago, when I was in the throes of my internal debate about retirement, I kept asking myself what’s next. The competitive fire that’s driven me for decades is still there, and I still flat love competing. To be honest—I love winning. I love putting in the work and seeing the fruits of that labor pay off in exceptional execution.

I had to figure out what my passion was exactly. And although I rodeoed for a long time, my passion was in the horses as much as anything. I think that’s why the transition has been so painless.

One, I feel like I fulfilled that chapter fully before I quit, so there wasn’t anything left behind. Two, I get to ride and develop horses and I really think that was a big part of what I did then, even though it was more graduate-level horses instead of the kindergarten level I’m on now. It was all about keeping horses and everything together or stepping up to the next level all the time for me. A lot of the success in my career was based on the horses I had at that time, whether the public realized it or not. Great horses like Calhoon, Jaguar, Boogie and Sic ’Em helped define my competitive legacy, and I wanted to build upon the lessons they taught me to create the next stage of my career.

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So fast forward to 2021, and I’ll explain to you how we’re working backward on this whole horse program and how it’s working out. I’ve spent a lifetime sorting through horses, figuring out what makes one great. For two years, Miles Baker (my partner in the Relentless Remuda) and I have been riding a buckskin 4-year-old we call Dagger. His name is Tuckin Away Buckles, and he has become one of our favorite colts—ever. He’s won almost $25,000 in four outings, and he’s really outstanding to look at, too. He’s exactly what I want in a prospect, so creating more like him is the next step in my career in the roping industry.

We found out Dagger’s dad was a Wimpys Little Step son named Show Me The Buckles, and we realized that Dagger being beautiful wasn’t an accident. Those looks are important to me and Miles both. We love riding pretty horses and, when they’ve got the whole package, that’s a big deal. We never thought about getting into the breeding game until we found the stud we call Buckles. And now we own him, and we plan to build the Relentless Remuda around his colts.

We just wanted a stud that was really versatile and it’s a big deal when your stallion can go compete and win like he’s done. There were a lot of great horses that were great competitors, but weren’t great producers. And, his performance—though it was great—wasn’t our priority.

We went about this whole process completely backward. We started with one of the best colts in our program that we liked everything about—he can be a head horse, heel horse or calf horse and, obviously, a reiner or cow horse if he wanted to be—and then we went and found the producer. We found what we liked to ride and, then, we went to figure out how we could produce that. And it turns out, the easiest way to do that was backward.TRJ

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