Well hello again and welcome to the Driver’s Seat. It has been almost a month since I have sat down and put something together for you all. The last month has been rathe slow for the life of the rodeo driver, when last we spoke I was headed home from California. I made the all-night drive from Clovis to Amarillo in good measure. Left Clovis at 6:00 pm and with a couple stops to walk and water and a stop in Gallup, NM, to wash the Relentless GMC Denali and Twister trailer I arrived the next afternoon at 4:00pm in Amarillo,TX. Upon arrival in TX I caught a flight to Dallas and the Boss took the rig to Guymon, OK, for Tuesday morning slack while I enjoyed a day in Decatur to recharge.
Wednesday I met him in Guymon with another rig and the ranch horses for him and the family to make a quick trip to the T-Cross Ranch to help with the annual branding and round-up. I stayed Wednesday through Sunday in Guymon with the rodeo horses and just hung out and kicked around with my good friend Drew Horner. There is a very limited amount of things to do in that town so several visits to the Red Box and the local theater were the excitement for the week. Sunday Trevor and company returned from the ranch for the short round where he did well in the TR and the TD and ended up winning the Guymon, OK Pioneer Days’ All Around.
The next bit of driving from Guymon was ironman style. I had made arrangements to take a couple days and visit my family in KS so we left Guymon, drove to Amarillo and picked up a horse then drove to Decatur. When we got to Decatur at 1:00am, I dropped the trailer and put the horses up without disturbing the sleeping Brazile family in the trailer. At 1:30 I was pulling out the gate headed to Manhattan, KS. My intention was to surprise my wife at her Monday morning Starbucks and be sitting there when she came in around 8:30am. Decatur,TX to Manhattan,KS is 456 miles lucky for me it is all highway and good driving. I made it to Starbucks and was waiting in the store when she got to town, little did I know that she would be aware enough to recognize the pickup I drove when she pulled in the parking lot. That being said she was actually surprised to see me in KS as I had given no indication that I would have the time to visit. Next after having coffee with Jen we surprised both of the “Big KIds” at school for lunch. My heart was overjoyed at my kids’ reaction to seeing me in their classrooms. We spent Monday just lounging around so I could recover from the 18hrs of driving and then went out for family dinner and caught up on what the kids have been doing. Tuesday we went to lunch with my mother and sister and my 3 nephews and 1 niece that I hadn’t seen since we rodeoed in MT last fall. It was great getting to catch up a little and see my mom before Mother’s Day. As always time flies and it was Wednesday morning and I dropped the kids back at school and daycare since Jen was off to work and then I was on the road back to Decatur.
Things at home in Texas didn’t slow down while I was gone. When I got there the number of horses in the barn had multiplied and there were 3 new ones there for tryouts. Two TD horses and one head horse. Only one of the three made the cut and got to stay on the place while the other two went back to their homes for someone else to try. That week was pretty steady but not too busy we had the Bridgeport rodeo and jackpot Wednesday and Thursday and then the weekend we had the TD roping in Stephenville. None of those really went well for us but with every time you enter you either “win something or you learn something.” Speaking of winning or learning the time we have spent at home has afforded me the chance to practice up and make a couple of the week night jackpots at the NRS training center. As of yet I have entered 3 times and made the short round 6 times and had a good chance to get a check one night but didn’t give my heeler the best chance and so I learned that just catching isn’t enough you have to help your partner catch too. My goal for those jackpots was to work on my scoring when I had money up and a little competitive pressure on me. I like to think I did well and my horse worked well for me so what I am learning at the ranch is beginning to go from education to practical application.
After a few quiet days at the ranch practicing and catching up around there it was back on the rodeo trail again. This time the Driver’s Seat would take me to Redding,CA for the Wrangler Champions Challenge and the rodeo and then to Ramona,CA in the southern part of the state to finish off the weekend. In this trip I would be taking our usual horses and also haul one for Tuf Cooper, which is a change in the routine. I left out of Decatur at 12:00pm on Tuesday morning and would pick up Travis and Trevor at the airport in Sacramento,CA at 2:30 the following day. It was a good drive and I even had time to stop in Gallup,NM for a couple of hours of sleep on the trip out. First up on that trip was the slack for the rodeo on Friday morning we were out in the TR and TD. I am sure you all have seen the results for that rodeo so I wont bother you with the recount of how it turned out but we did ok there. Then came Saturday and the Champions Challenge those events are a full day with autograph signing and check in and contestant meetings so basically you are tied up with that all day but we did find two hours in there to go to the movies and see Million Dollar Arm which I will have to say was a great movie. That night at the Challenge Trevor and Travis were 4.8 in the TR for 2nd and Trevor was 8.8 in the TD for 4th so he had a good night. We left Redding right away after the rodeo and headed on the overnight drive to Ramona, CA. Lucky for me travis was feeling good and he drove for a few hours so I could catch up on some much needed rest before I took over the wheel at around 3am. Those all-night drives don’t happen a ton but there are probably 12 to 15 a year and with being up all day at a rodeo and then trying to drive all night to the next one I am thankful to give up the seat for awhile from time to time.
The guys did well in Ramona winning the TR with a 4.4 and also Trevor won the TD with an 8.1 but don’t quote me on that my memory may be foggy and I am too tired to look up on the Pro Rodeo results page to guarantee accuracy. After the rodeo that day I hauled the guys over to San Diego to the airport and they were off to the house while I began the drive back to TX. Lucky for me this drive would not be much of a hurry and I stopped in AZ at the home of Joseph Parsons and spent the night and most of the next day before I headed out to Decatur. I try when I am not in a hurry to do most of my driving at night––seems to me that the time and miles pass more quickly that way, not to mention the cool air is most certainly easier on the horses. It really seems this time of year when a guy looks at his schedule that we would have time off but truly the machine that is rodeo and my job never stops working. I would be home in TX for about a week before heading out to Spanish Fork,UT for the next Champions Challenge. That week was spent doing odd jobs and spring cleaning around the ranch leading up to Memorial Day. The Boss finally found time for a family vacation that week and took off for a few days to rest and relax and recharge the batteries. He needed the time because it wouldn’t be long and we will be going again like gang busters chasing the road and the rodeo life.
Once again as I have written so many times for you all the day came to head out. This time to Spanish Fork for the Wrangler Champions Challenge. I was leaving alone because Trevor and Travis were actually headed the other direction for Hugo,OK and Fort Smith,AR so they had to drive themselves for a few days. The trip out was not hurried for me. I left Thursday morning and had to be UT Saturday morning to pick the guys up at the airport so I stopped the first night in Colorado Springs, CO at the T-Cross Ranch and put the horses up and got a good night’s rest. Then Friday morning headed out again this time I would be taking a road that I have never driven in my few years of being a driver. I took Interstate 70 west from Denver, CO and went through the mountains to get across although the scenery was awesome and the powerful hand of God was displayed all around me over and over. I was less than excited about pulling a trailer full of horses on that one. One change for me this trip was I elected to take the 5-horse Twister stock trailer on this trip as it would only be me in the rig for a few nights and the ease of pulling that one outweighed the comfort and amenities in the big LQ trailer. Friday night around 5 pm I made it to Spanish Fork and so after getting my horses squared away I had some time for just kicking around and to me the movie theater always fills the void of spare time.
Saturday in Spanish would be a busy day first off pick the guys (Trevor, Tuf and Travis) up at the airport and then head to the rodeo for check-in and photos and all that comes along with Challenge events. One thing at this event is we were all invited by the committee to the local gun club for some trap shooting. That I will have to say was one of the most fun times I have had on the rodeo road outside of entering a roping or being behind the chutes at the NFR. It is fun to take the rodeo cowboys out of their natural environment and see which ones of them can excel at other test of skill. The shooting for me seemed easy but then again I spent 6 years guiding pheasant hunters in SD in the fall so shotguns have been something that I am very familiar with. I would have to say the one that surprised me most in our group was Tuf Cooper. He shot very well and was very accurate, although I don’t really know how much time he has spent in his life shooting. Trevor as usual was a quick study and after a slow start got on track and on point and was breaking targets with ease in a short time. Travis and I were both at a disadvantage in the shooting as we are both left handed. So you know,not many people in the world are so blessed and that being said there was not a left handed firearm available for us to use. Although shooting a right handed gun lefty can be done it presents with some awkward moments from time to time followed up by ridicule from your friends when you unsuccessfully operate the safety. All in all we had a great time shooting and made it back to town just in time for the autograph session at the local western store.
After autographs and dinner it was rodeo time saturday night. I hope you have all had a chance to watch on CBS Sports and know that trevor and Travis were 3rd in the TR and Trevor had a very rare miss in the TD and so the challenge was ok for our team. After the rodeo I took the boys up to their motel near the airport in Salt Lake and the headed back to the trailer to get some sleep before heading out Sunday morning back to Decatur.
The driving for me is a time for catching up on the entering and finding out what rodeo’s are open and closing and what is coming in the days ahead to enter as I have taken it upon myself to at the very least make sure we are down at the rodeos we want to go to and if changes need be made leave that to the guys. Entering in the PRCA is truly an art form and I am lucky to be learning it from a guy who has made a living in three events. Not to take anything away from guys who are single event guys, but it is easy to enter one and make it work entering three and getting everywhere is a miracle. After work is done that leaves time for me and what I use it for is reflection and their are many hours spent lost in thought about my family my future and even the past and how I got to where I am today. This has truly been an opportunity of a lifetime to spend time with the guys that I have been around and to get to know the everyday side of the rodeo guys who we see on tv or in the arena. We often idolize these men and women and think they are heroes but to them they are just doing what they love and it is a job and they work at it everyday. Many of them are gifted and have natural talent and ability yet they work at it with a determination that is un-stoppable. They are driven to succeed by something inside that is unseen as well as unspoken a desire to push themselves to their highest potential. It is truly a privilege to spend time in their company and to find out who they are and to just be around them and see the human side of them.
Back home in Decatur, Monday by noon and then right to the practice pen it is going to be a slow week but practice never takes a back seat. We will be home Monday and Tuesday and the head out sometime Wednesday afternoon or evening for KS and the Garden City rodeo where we will be in slack on Thursday morning. After the slack I have made arrangements to catch a ride over to Manhattan. There I will have time to spend a few much needed days with my wife and children before we head out for the summer run and find our schedules so very crazy and un-relenting!!! Again I welcome everyone to follow me on twitter @joshschley80 or truly I enjoy your feedback at Joshschley80@gmail.com so until next time I hope you have enjoyed the View from the Drivers Seat!! And good roping and God Bless!!