Sometimes in rodeo, you don’t draw well enough to have a chance. I team rope and bull dog, and that can happen in both events. There are times you have to be three, and you can’t draw anything but five-second steers. There’s nothing you can do but make the best run you can, stay positive, and know it can turn around. Drawing bad can really wear on you, but you’ve got to let it go—because you’ll be mentally down, and you won’t be prepared for the next good one you draw.
That’s why I sometimes say that it takes two steers, not just one good one, to get out of a slump. If you’ve been drawing bad, and you finally draw something great, you may press too hard, knowing that this is your chance, and break a barrier or make a mental error.
A bad draw can be a chance to focus on your fundamentals. Instead of panicking and trying to force something to happen, you can use a bad draw as a opportunity to work on what you can control. Make sure you ride up there, get a good head catch, and ride your horse well. Do what you’re supposed to do and stay sharp, so nothing is out of whack when the good ones come along.
I talked to Chad Masters not long ago about how he deals with the summer run. The roping then gets so fast, and you’re running steers every single day. He said he might miss 10 in a row, and to fight it, he just goes out and tries to be six-flat, and just build from there. It will get better with each steer you run the more confidence you can gain.
Just like when you miss 10 in a row, sometimes you can catch 10 in a row and not do everything right on all of them—sometimes it just works. Rodeo and team roping is like golf, and I love golf. The only thing that matters is the next shot. You get 70-some shots in a game of golf. In rodeo, we get 75 to 100 steers a year. Sometimes you make a bad shot in golf, and you hit the pin on the next one from 100 yards out. Rodeo is the same way—you have a chance for something great on every shot, and you’ve got to let the bad ones go and stay focused. It can turn around at any time.