We talk about position, timing and scoring a lot. And those are all things we need as people who are trying to set an example. We need position, we need to be in the right places at the right times. When it comes to timing, we need to know when to keep our mouth shut and when to say something. As far as scoring, God says we need to have a bridle in our mouth and know when to sit still and wait on Him to instruct us. That’s what your horse does when you score. We need that in our life so we’re not riding through the bridle. All those things in roping go back to walking as a Christian and how we conduct ourselves. Scoring, position and timing are all things we need.
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Everybody has a different attitude or way of going about things. Some guys are more revved up and full of fire. Guys in any sport or business have to have a drive or a will and give it everything they’ve got. But how you conduct yourself in the arena and out of the arena, I think, has a lot to do with your longevity and how people see you. Whether we like it or not, once you’ve built a little bit of a name and you’re in the public eye, whether you’re at the practice pen or the rodeo, somebody is watching you and you’re making a difference in someone’s life as you work really hard at what you’re doing.
The way I look at it, I’ve never been a really fiery guy, but there’s little things that I’ve done in the past that probably didn’t look very good and showed that I was frustrated. Some people don’t control their emotions very well and need an outlet. When you see people start to go to the extreme, popping ropes off or slinging things around that might get somebody hurt or in a bind, that’s not needed. If you’re whipping on your horse or throwing a fit or something, more than likely you’re out of line and need a little reprimanding too.
One of my assets is my highs aren’t too high, and my lows aren’t too low. I’ve never won a world title roping. I’ve won a lot of different titles, so I feel like my career has been a success. But, I can’t look back at it and say that I didn’t care about it enough. Sure, there were times when I should have worked at it a little harder or maybe I should have put more into it, but I always felt like the more level-headed I could be and the less I allowed my performance to dictate how I acted, the more I could process things and learn something from it and move on and above all that is how you’re perceived. Not so much wanting to look better than anyone else, it’s just all about affecting some 10-year-old kid’s life. When he looks at me and sees how I do things, does he want to be like me?
Being a Christian, there’s a responsibility. Some people are going to speak out and some people are way more private. But I don’t think there’s a difference in how you should act. There’s a way of walking, talking and roping—doing your daily things—that allows Christ to show up and speak to people’s hearts about who he is through our actions. You don’t have to say anything. It’s the things that you do and how you do them that shine through. The only way you can do that is knowing who Christ is and what He did for us and knowing how He reacted when He was tempted, when He was frustrated, when He was tired and hungry and all those things that we go through as humans. As people, we go through a lot of stuff, but nothing more than He did. So the more we know Him, the more we know how He reacted and who He leaned on, which was His Father.
He got strength through the Word, it fed Him. It’s what gave Him life and strength and the ability to move forward and not fail. So, if that’s what we strive for, to me, the only way to get close to that is to get closer to Him and know Him and what He would do in different situations. That gives us a blueprint to how we should be living our lives. The more I’ve done it, the more peace I have. The more peace I have, the more calm I can be, and the more calm I can be, the clearer I can see things and the better I can, in all situations, be lead by the Spirit. If you don’t have that peace in you, that clearness in you, then there is confusion. Knowing He is the way, He is truth and He is life, that simple little phrase becomes so much deeper when you actually start trying to know what would Jesus do. We’re all hypocrites, but if we make a concerted effort to be in control of how we act and the things we say, it’s better for anyone who happens to be watching.