I cut my thumb off in 2017, and I was pretty much tripping out as I laid in that hospital bed. I wasn’t worried about the injury or the pain. I was worried I wasn’t going to rope good again.

As I’m laying there, my phone rings, and it’s my hero, Jake Barnes. He was one of the first to call me.

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He told me right off, “First of all, you handle your rope better than normal folks. This will be a challenge, but this won’t be your finishing point. You don’t believe it right now, but it will happen. I’ve been through it.”

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From that point, I told myself I could look at this as a “Woe is me, pity me,” situation, or I could look at it as my challenge. My hero Jake Barnes thinks it’s in me. So who am I to say it’s not? I told myself if Jake has enough confidence in me, why should I worry?

[Read more: Humble Folk: Freeman and Sartain Win #12 Ariat World Series of Team Roping Finale]

Jake told me to take my time and let it heal even more than the doctors said to. So I did that, and I came back heeling, because I wasn’t going to be able to turn my rope over early enough in my first swing—the most important part of a run, next to scoring. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to head like I wanted to head without that sharp first swing, so I heeled.

I was still timid with my rope. So heeling, I could come swing my rope and set my rope down and dally with the rope going away from me, and get where I’m not gun-shy or worried about my rope handling. I figured once I was confident at that, heading shouldn’t have been a problem. Heeling, you can mess around two or three swings, but heading at the level I’m at, I don’t get that option.

[Read more: Being Aggressive on Fresh Cattle with Nick Sartain]

Ultimately, the confidence in my roping was there because of dumb faith in what Jake had told me. If anybody else had told me that, I’d have said they don’t know what they’re talking about. But I can’t tell Jake Barnes that because he does know what he’s talking about. When he told me that, it did so much for me. He was thinking of me, but I don’t think he understands what that did for me. I’ve never told him what that call really meant.

Of course, having Faith in the Lord means a lot to me. If He’s for me, and Jake Barnes thinks I can do it, who is going to stop me? TRJ

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