The Never-Ending Quest to Stay Mounted

If you look at most of the top ropers’ careers, you’ll notice that they’ve revolved around specific horses. A few combinations that come to mind are Speed (Williams) and Viper, Clay (Tryan) and Thumper, Travis (Tryan) and Walt, Charles (Pogue) and Scooter, and Steve (Purcella) and Butterbean. When people talk about Clay and I, they usually think of Blue and Ike for Clay, and Bullwinkle and Barney when they mention me. Those great horses never get enough credit. When we’re out here rodeoing, we’re all in the same boat. It’s a constant search to find the next good one, and even if you get lucky enough to have one, you always need another one, because you don’t want to end up upside down if your good horse goes down. No matter who you are, we’re all so dependent on our horses. And regardless of the reason-whether they wear out or get injured-without them, we’re afoot. Very seldom do any of us have another great one on the back burner that’s as good as our No. 1 horse. As you get more experienced, you realize you may not find that perfect horse again. I’ve ridden a lot of good horses, but I’ve only had two I consider great-Bullwinkle and Barney. What I’ve figured out is that while I search for that next needle in the haystack, I need to work on how to get by on what I do have. If I’m not out trying horses, I’m trying to fix the ones I have and basically reshuffling the deck all the time. The search never ends. Another thing that’s happened to all of us is buying a horse that feels good when you try him, then it doesn’t work out like you expected. It keeps us all juggling. That’s pretty common when you’re constantly searching for the next good horse as desperately as we are. When you’re really in need, you’re vulnerable and that can cause you to rush into making a mistake. Remember the old saying “buyer beware.” It’s on you to take the time you need to make the best possible decision.

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