Rodeo can be hard, and I get to struggling. I get tired, but I think the only way to overcome that is to have faith. I get my confidence and my strength from God.
It’s not easy. We drive every day, and we get caught up thinking about roping all the time. I listen to Jake Barnes and Allen Bach tell me that roping isn’t that important, though. They have reminded me that it needs to be God, family, then roping. But when you’re roping every day, all you think about is where you’re going tomorrow, what horse you’re going to ride, what you’re going to do, what steer you’re going to draw. When it’s like that, it’s easy to let roping climb and become first in your life. And when roping becomes first, you can probably control it for a little bit, but eventually things will for sure fall apart.
To combat that, when I get up every morning, I talk to my mom. She prays over the phone to me every day. That reminds me what I need to do. Even when I’m mad, I call her. I ask for her blessing. That’s our family’s culture. It helps me stay focused, and it helps her feel good, too.
I’m not perfect. It’s hard. I try hard. I think the deal is, like roping, when you work really hard, you get better at it. Faith is the same. When I’m not working at it, it shows.
We need to be who we are. I sin, and I don’t judge. When you’re doing good and you’re roping good, everybody is watching you. When you’re doing bad, everyone is watching you too. I think my actions are the same, too. If I’m doing bad, everyone knows.
I try to be the light instead of the dark. I like people, and I like to talk to them. I’m not trying to be anybody that I’m not—that’s the way I am. The only way I find peace is to do good things for people. Simple little things, like helping someone or saying good morning to a stranger.
This is competition, and it’s so hard. But the little, simple things are what can change something for someone else. I think that’s what gives me strength.
When I pray before I rope, I ask God to give me strength and good concentration and let His will be done. I pray to do my job. If He wants me to be victorious that day, and if I do my job, that will happen. That’s what I’m learning—to let His will be done. I feel like to me, when I win, I’m representing a lot of people. I think about my family, my mom. Marcos (Costa) and I celebrate together. I feel like my team wins. They cheer and pray for you, and that’s why I get so happy.
More with Junior Nogueira:
Staying Hooked with Junior Nogueira
Next Level Horsemanship with Junior Nogueira