Post-NFR Wrap Up
It's been one heck of a year.

It’s been an incredible month. I left for the NFR Sunday the 1st. We traveled about half of the 22 hour drive then rested Sunday night and finished the drive Monday. Once in Vegas we spent Tuesday and Wednesday running all over Vegas to check-ins, meetings and roping the steers through. 

Credit: Dan Hubbell

Monday I started to feel sick. Tuesday and Wednesday I got worse so I went to the doctor. He suggested normal OTC drugs, which helped at first, but Wednesday night I didn’t sleep at all. I wish it was because I was excited about running my first one but it wasn’t. I was running a high fever, chilling, coughing hysterically, and had a miserable headache. Thursday I had several functions scheduled then the perf that eve. By the time the perf rolled around I was working on about 10 hours of sleep for the week not to mention I haven’t slept since 7 a.m. on Weds. Don’t get me wrong. When you back in that box for the first time, 18,000 strong in attendance, it is an incredible rush. 

I was exhausted though. Just warming up was a chore. I felt like I couldn’t move my arms and legs at the same time (this is an important part of what I do, lol). Thursday after the perf I went straight to bed. I slept a few hours and felt a little better Friday morning. Friday evening I decided to ride Rue because he is a more free than Daisy and I was really weak. Sweating like crazy right before we roped then chilling. Again I went straight to bed and hardly slept. Saturday I went to another doctor. He prescribed antibiotics, steroids, flu meds, and cough syrup. Within hours I was feeling better. Saturday night we where 1st out. 4.2, the fastest run at that point of the week. It is great to experience something you have dreamed about for years. 

We held on for a split in the round. My first NFR buckle. Many guys rodeo their entire career and/or go to the NFR for years without winning one. It’s such a blessing. We where inconsistent the rest of the week. Inexperience, surprises with the steers we drew, poor execution. The list of excuses could go in and on but now hind-sight is 20×20. 

I’m really happy that we did what we did. We placed in 4 rounds and won over $25k. The best week of the year for us. In rodeo you either win or you learn or you do both. I’m really happy to say I did both. I learned much more than I can fit into one article. I watched 1 perf at the NFR in 2008. We had seats way up in the balcony but I loved it. From anywhere in the building it is an experience. From the arena floor it is unbelievable. Now we regroup and start our #RoadtoNFR14. Horses are great. I’m finally starting to feel healthy and human. I’ve had some really good practices and we are entering the winter rodeos! 

God Bless,

Buddy Hawkins

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