Andrew Ward’s pre-run prayers set the tone for his in-arena performance.
I don’t have a specific prayer that I sit back there and say every time, but I’m praying, whether it’s for $10 or the 10th round at the NFR.
I feel a lot of pressure being a high-teamer. If I can’t think and see straight, I will see better after I pray. What I don’t think people know about me is that I want to finish the roping off whether it’s for $300 or $65,000. I can be around the house, for what other people don’t think is a big deal—I get nervous. I just try to get in a peaceful spot and do my job. Those are higher stress, but there’s pressure everywhere for me.
I get nervous before I rope, even if people think I look like I’m a statue. But the truth is, I’m usually back there praying and remembering to breathe and talk to God. I get calm, thanks to those conversations with the Father.
In my prayers, I say a lot of the same words, usually, “Help me, help me, help me.” Sometimes I’m thankful, but always I say whatever is on my heart. If I’m panicked, I ask the Father for help. It calms me, and I get peace from it. People say I look intense before I rope, but the truth is this is our livelihood and it’s a lot on the line, and I put myself in stressful situations because of that.
I rely on my faith behind the box more than people know. I get to a peaceful spot, and then I can focus. I ask for whatever is on my heart, and sometimes—like at the 10th round of the Finals and on the last steer of the Lone Star Shootout—all I’m asking is to finish the roping. Maybe I don’t have the best attitude, so I ask God to let me ride out head held high, no matter what happens in the arena. TRJ