Jade Corkill: What I’ll Tell My Kids About Rodeo
What Jade Corkill will tell his kids about making it in professional rodeo.
Original Publication: Oct. 12, 2016

Jade Corkill lives in Stephenville, Texas, with his sons, Colby and Kelton, who are both bit by the roping bug.

You have to put in the effort.

Work ethic matters. If this is all we do, there’s no reason to not put as much work into it as we possibly can. You go through good times, bad times, mediocre times, but if you don’t continuously keep the fight going, every day you miss could be one of those good times. Somebody else is not wasting time. You can’t be mad when you don’t win if you didn’t put in all the time you could have.

Be the best partner you can be.

Someone is counting on you. As far as Clay and me, I know he’s doing everything he can do to perform as well as he can, and he’s counting on me to do the same thing. As far as buying horses, if horses are something you need to make your team better or for you to be a better partner, absolutely you need to do that. Trying to save money by taking the cheap route on a horse when there was a better option that costs more, it’s going to cost you more in the long run and it’s going to cost your partner, too.

Don’t put a timeline on perfecting your craft.

I feel like I changed a lot when I realized I would always be working at it. I thought there would be a point where I knew how to heel. Now I’ve realized that if I’m roping or rodeoing, I’ve got to be working as hard as I was at 12 years old. Look at Champ, (Clay O’Brien Cooper). He is still working at it just as hard. Never stop searching because the learning continues until you’re done.

Do not let heeling take over your life.

I think you have to separate your professional life from your personal life. You can’t let heeling dictate who you are. I’m as guilty of it as anyone in the history of team roping. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s hopes and dreams, but don’t let success in the arena, and stuff you win, define you. Stuff—buckles, saddles, titles, money—don’t let it ruin what you’re really after. It takes experience and time to understand that. Apparently, what I’m still finding out, is that the only thing that matters and the only thing at the end of the day is what we feel like on the inside. So, what other people know and think has no effect on anything. If we’re okay with it, that’s all that matters. Last weekend I taught a school, and the two kids who won the saddles were truly overjoyed. They thought it was the best thing that ever happened to them. I remembered what it felt like being them. Giving those saddles away is in the top-five best feelings I’ve ever had—getting to make those kids that happy. It made me so fulfilled to do that.

Learn to count like a heeler.

You shouldn’t know what any number in the world PLUS FIVE is automatically. Any number, I know the answer immediately. I know I’m going to teach my kids to count: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9. There is no 5. TRJ

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