I’m not a naturally confident person—I never really have been. That’s what hurts me the most—my confidence gets down a lot. I’ve gotten better about it, and one thing I’ve figured out is that I need to surround myself with positive people. My wife, Josie, is a very positive person, and she is always trying to pick me up. She’s pretty knowledgeable about my horses and my roping, and she’ll tell me to get on something else if I need to. But if I’m down, she tries to pick me up and tells me I can do it.
It’s also really important for me to have a partner who is positive and trying to pick me up. When I first started, I roped with Matt Zancanella. He was the most positive person ever as far as roping. Zanc couldn’t wait to get to the next rodeo, no matter what. We might miss five in a row, and he thought we’d win the next 10. He’s never down. He’s just a fun person. You can get in the ring with someone who isn’t like that and everyone is miserable.
In a slump, I have to work my way out of it and start telling myself I’m going to turn the next one. I’ve gotten to where I can handle it better. I used to let missing one bother me. It can really affect you if you let it bother you—which is why having someone else in the rig who really believes in you can make a huge difference.
Battle Out of a Slump
I’ve gotten to where I visualize a lot. Driving down the road, I’ll think about what I did on the last run. I can work it out in my head a lot of times. Whether you’re rodeoing in the summer or working for a living, you might not have a ton of time to practice, so if you can get good at visualization, you can get ahead that way.
I roped terrible for three weeks in a row last summer. I stayed hooked, and finally, I started roping good again. It doesn’t matter who you are, you’re capable of missing 10 in a row, especially if it’s one-headers and it’s fast and if you don’t draw good. You’ve got to keep positive in your mind. I don’t make excuses, but I talk myself out of being negative.
Block Out the Stressors
Last year, I didn’t rope good. I thought about it all the time, and it bothered me. I’m a very nervous person, and watching the standings was hard on me. I learned that however much I have won, and everyone thinks I’ll make it, I have to not pay attention and keep focused on doing my job. I’ve never made the Finals before, and I’ve got this far anyway. So if it works out, it works out; if not, I’ll go home and do it again next year.