Derrick Begay: What Would I Tell My Resistol Rookie Self?
What Derrick Begay would, or wouldn't, tell his Resistol Rookie self.
Derrick Begay riding to a steer.
Begay’s Resistol Rookie year helped him grow into the eight-time NFR header he is today. TRJ File Photo by Kaitlin Gustave

You know how guys say that they have a hard life. A bull rider is a good example. They ride bulls and they probably get banged up then they get crippled and older. They always say, ‘If I do it over again I’d do it the same way’. 

It’s kind of the same way for me. I don’t know what I’d tell the younger version of myself. I wouldn’t change anything back then. It seems like the more stuff you know the harder it gets. Or the more stuff you know the more precise you want to get. 

There’s all kinds of things I could tell myself but that’s what it’s all about. I wouldn’t want to try to know everything I know now when I was a rookie. It’s fun being a rookie. It’s fun going somewhere and not knowing what you’re getting yourself into or not knowing the setups. It’s fun to learn, and I think if you can learn it that way and figure it out on your own, I think you use your mind better. 

Now-a-days there’s a lot of kids that can’t get to a rodeo without their phone. I was young enough back then that I knew how to read a map. That’s all we had was maps. It makes me feel old now, but we looked at a map and had to call someone to give us actual street directions. There was no “Drop me a pin” or “Put the address in your phone” when I was a rookie. 

As far as the roping part–nothing. You obviously have to learn how to win, you learn horsemanship, you learn how to travel and the best spots to stay. It’s not just about how you rope or the winning, there’s also the business side of it. 

Derrick Begay spinning the short round steer for Cory Petska at “The Daddy” this year. TRJ File Photo by Kaitlin Gustave

There’s all kinds of things I could have told myself back in the day, but learning is trial and error. I knew what I was getting myself into though. To look back at it again I wouldn’t tell myself anything even if I knew what I know now. 

It’s almost like a surprise. It’s like going to go watch a movie. My whole life is a movie. If someone told me what I had to look forward to like this part is going to happen here, this is the emotion you’re going to feel when this part comes on, you better take an extra tissue because you might cry right here. Then you go to the movie it won’t be as exciting–won’t be a surprise. That’s kind of how my rodeo career was. I’m glad there wasn’t anyone to tell me how it was going to be. 

I got to watch my own movie from the best seat I could have. 

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