Knowing how to win means that when the ball is in your court, you capitalize on it. When it comes down to it and you do what it takes to win—that’s what you can consider being a winner. I try to focus and get ready to make my run. That’s what I’ve tried to learn to do throughout the year. Each steer matters. Each could be the difference between a gold buckle or not. Each one is important.
On big days, like at the BFI, you have to bring your A game because everyone else is, too. I think about setting the run up and focusing on the start and what I need to see. I try to have a game plan for the day as to whether I need to be aggressive at the start and how aggressive I want to ride and rope.
Getting to rope with Brad (Culpepper) my rookie year really helped me develop my mental strategy. He taught me how to deal with adversity and all the variables in rodeo. Back home, the rodeos don’t pay very much and you have to go for first. Out here, you learn to rope to place because you can still make good money. And I learned how to jackpot better roping with Jade (Corkill). His attitude is so sharp. He always told me we weren’t out of it until we had a no-time. Growing up, I was always going for first and that carried over into my jackpotting. You can’t have that mentality at a jackpot because at some point, you’ll push the max too far and it will backfire.
I’ve learned to settle down in my roping quite a bit. I’ve dropped the ball a lot, too. If you rope enough, it’s going to happen. The more you can focus and be prepared to do your job, the less likely you’ll be to drop the ball and the fewer times it will happen. In life in general, having your stuff together and being ready for the opportunity will make you a winner. Make sure your tack is ready, your horses are ready, you’re practiced up. Don’t let small stuff hinder you from winning.