My confidence has always come from my preparation—knowing I’ve spent the time in the practice pen before I head out on the road, knowing my horses are working, and knowing my swing is in the right spot.
But confidence and inspiration are two different things, and my inspiration comes directly from my two little girls—Annie, who is 2-and-a-half; and Hope, who was born June 19—and my wife, Rebecca.
In 2009, Rebecca gave me cards with a saying on them before the start of the Canadian Finals Rodeo. I would put those cards in my shirt pocket, and I’d pull them out and read them two teams before I rode into the box. She did that every year, and before I rode into the box at my first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, I looked at those cards. Earlier that year, we had our little girl, and Rebecca put Annie’s picture on the cards with a saying, too.
When I ride in the box, I’ve already prepared myself for my run or roping. The rest, you spend your entire life preparing for. There’s nothing I’m going to change physically between the time I spent in the practice pen and when I make my rodeo run. I keep my mind clear thinking of my family, because I do everything to support them.
I carry around zero pressure from having won a gold buckle in 2016. There was no pressure to win one before I did it, and there’s no pressure to win one now. I just know that I’ve got my girls, and I’ve got a roping partner who I count on as a friend who wants to win as much as I do, and who is working as hard as, or harder than, I am. Jeremy has the same drive and wants to win as much I as do, and I’m never having to second-guess anything about that.
CONFIDENCE ON THE DUMMY
If I’m struggling, I make sure I rope the dummy to know everything is feeling good. That means:
• I’m making sure my swing feels like it’s aiming at the buckle on the base of the left horn.
• I’m placing my hondo there and the rest of my loop is doing its job.
• I can catch the dummy from every position possible so that I’m ready for every scenario I end up in on my horse.