You have to have the all-in mentality to rodeo. People try to take short cuts, but that doesn’t work. Whether that means going to a qualifier to get into a tough rodeo or going somewhere else you don’t want to go, you’ve got to be all in. You have to do stuff like that. It pays off in the end.
There’s 15 guys who go to the Finals every year, and there’s only 30 or 35 guys who have that mentality. You won’t make it without it, and it shows.
[LISTEN: The Score: Season 3, Episode 1 with Tate Kirchenschlager]
Nobody wants to make the long drives to the rodeos that aren’t as good. We all want to go to Houston, San Antone. They’re a blast. Nobody wants to come to the Denver qualifier, but if you need to win Denver, and you want to make the Finals, you go. You get done at Austin and have $35,000 won. You think, man, California is fun, but I don’t want to drive out there for a month even if you only win $3,000. But you’re chasing points. You put it on paper, it doesn’t make sense.
You need to be all in from the word “go.” Buddy (Hawkins) made a good point this summer. He said, “People who say, ‘Oh we’re going to rodeo until Cheyenne and see how it looks,’ those guys are who are looking for a time to go home.” The guys who make the Finals every year, they show up to Odessa in January and plan to go until Stephenville. That’s how you have to be. If you look for a spot to go home, you’ll go home.
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It doesn’t make sense, and it will cost a lot. But you have to make yourself bare down, and go all the time. I even like going to unofficialed rodeos. The more steers you can run behind the barrier, the better.
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Now, the off months, I’ve always got seven to 10 outside horses to ride. On the months off, I train and ride outside horses and make that $900 a month. Any time I have a chance to make an extra dollar, I hustle around and do it. There’s always money to be made when you’re at home; you’ve just got to go do it. If you sit around and be lazy when you aren’t rodeoing, you’ll be in a bind. Last fall, I stayed at my dad’s house and we doctored yearlings for 60 days straight. I didn’t want to do it, but it paid good enough I couldn’t not. You just have to find a way to make money and find what it is that works.