Last week I wrote about how important the next 6 weeks would be. With 1 down and 5 to go it has a been good and we are trying to RopeBetter every day. Our 5.3 and 5.2 held on to place in both rounds at Ft. Worth and we came back high callback. I sent Daisy to Rapid City, Sd. on Wednesday. We flew up there Thursday. It was below 0 degrees Fahrenheit the entire time we where up there. We didn't do any good in Rapid. We flew back and got one more practice in Friday. Friday night we went to Belton, Tx. and made a good run. We where 5.0 which held on for 3rd place. The Wildfire Open to the World started at 9am. on Saturday. I roped with Drew Horner and Cale Markham. Note: The short round at Ft. Worth started at 7:30pm the same day two and a half hours drive away. The Wildfire had a little over 150 teams. It is 2 full rounds then progressive. Drew and I where 7 on our first one while Cale and I had a No Time. In the second round I was 5.0 with Cale which placed 2nd in the round. Drew and I came back with another 7, then a 6, one more 7, and an 8 second run in round 5. We where 6th callback. We where within 1 second of 4th and 2 seconds ahead of 7th. The roping pays 7 places in the average. When we roped we had to be 9 to move to the lead and guarantee ourselves no worse than 6th for $4,400 each. In this spot it is crucial that you execute your fundamentals. You must take your final run like a staircase. Do not skip steps along the way. If you are outside the money you need to make an aggressive run to move up in the roping. If you have good position and you are content to place where you may then you need to CATCH. We had a stronger steer in the short go. Drew got a good start and did a great job roping and handling him. If we had drawn a slow steer it would have been great to be aggressive and try to move up in the roping. Because our steer was strong and we didn't have a great opportunity to move up I made every effort to be sure I caught. We where 8 and moved to the lead. We ended up placing 5th in the roping and split 11k. The money was great but it was a huge boost of confidence to place with Drew. We have done well the last year at the rodeos, but we have struggled at the jackpots. The roping was over at exactly 5pm. and we loaded and left for Ft. Worth. We made good time and arrived safely at 7:30 like clockwork! At most PRCA rodeos with finals they draw from the steers that the ropers qualified for the short round on. So basically there are 12 teams that make the finals and they draw 12 of those aprox. 24 steers. There is always the "Luck-of-the-Draw" aspect of this sport. These steers where all catchable so it makes sense that the ropers that made the final round would have a chance to win something. We drew a steer that actually went in our set at the rodeo (each set at Ft. Worth had 8 steers that we roped in Back to Back perfs). In the first round the team that had him missed, but in the 2nd round Spencer Mitchell and Russell Cardoza where 6.0 on him. He ran straight and was on the stronger end of them for our set. In our particular case this was a good thing. At Ft. Worth there is not much room to the left. If a steer runs too much to the left it causes everything to be rushed and it takes more time to finish if the header gets slowed down by the fence when trying to face. When I have good callback my mind is flooded with anticipation and fear. Fear is believing that the future is going to be grim and is usually a lie. Faith that I will reap what I have sown in the practice pen, roping the dummy, and always-always-ALWAYS trying to RopeBetter is what allows me to control those thoughts. If I fail today I will sow seeds for tomorrow. If I succeed today I will sow seeds for tomorrow. This year there was equal money added in the Team Roping at Ft. Worth. ( Each rodeo has the option to add whatever they want to each event. In years past there has been the same money added to team roping as the other events. Meaning the Team Ropers only had half as much on either side as the other events) The equal money made this rodeo pay a lot better than years past. With the better payout implemented it made this a great rodeo to place 4th or 5th at. It is crucial to make a clean run on your last steer at a rodeo that pays so good. I wanted to win first but this is what I do for a living. I cannot get caught up in the fame of winning 1st at a rodeo that pays well to place at and make errors that cost me making money and the potential to qualify for major events such as the NFR. There where a lot of catches in the short round. I have been high call at rodeos that had so few catches I could win 6th in the average without even catching my steer. When it got down the end of the round everybody needed to catch to place in the average.
4th call Cale Markham and Cody Doescher took the lead of the round and average with a 5.5 and a total of 16.9 on 3 (Cale is the partner that I won the Sand Hills jackpot at Odessa with. We also placed in the 2nd round of the Wildfire the morning of the short round and will be roping later this month at Mesquite Semi Finals for the American)
3rd call Spencer Mitchell and Russell Cardoza made a great run and took the lead of both the round and average also with a 4.8 and total of 16.1
2nd call broke the barrier
We where up and had 5.6 seconds to take the lead. Many times in high callback position you have more time to catch your steer to win the rodeo. I knew we could be 6 or even 7 and still place good in the average. I try to be open minded. I focus on what I have done 6 days a week for 13 years. #catch2 I decided before the rodeo started that I was going to take a high percentage shot. I have not found a spot that I catch 100% of the time. I have however found a position that I can catch a very high percentage of my steers. In a position like we where in I needed to take my best shot. Drew got a really good start at the barrier and got the steer roped close to where we needed to catch him for the lead. I am nervous every time. I make myself nervous in the practice pen and at smaller events. I feel that if I am constantly controlling my nerves in low pressure situations that I will be able to control them better in high pressure spots also. I didn't rush my shot. Rue felt like I could throw as soon as the steer bent or track him as far as I wanted. The steer switched and hit pretty good.(his hips passed his head) Drew and I do not necessarily have one run we try to make every time. He has several good horses and all of them handle cattle differently.) Like I said Rue did exactly what he was supposed to and I was able to swing right over the steers back when he turned. The steer cleaned up good with his feet together and I heeled him the 2nd legal hop off the corner. When I heeled him I did not think we where going to be fast enough to win the rodeo, but I already had a Peace that if I #caught2 feet I was going to be happy. We where 5.4 and placed 2nd in the round and first in the average with a 15.9 on 3 steers.
It is such a blessing to have this much success this early in the season. I won around 12k in PRCA money this week. Ft. Worth is a big rodeo and a great win. Once the dust has settled I think I will be in the top 5 of the standings. Also in the top few in USTRC tour points.
Since I was 14 I wanted to compete at the top level of the sport. Many people have encouraged/discouraged me that the 2nd NFR qualification is the hardest. I believe all of them. I like it hard. If it where easy everybody would do it and that would take some of the "sense of accomplishment" away. I have always had one goal in this sport. My goal is to Make a Living. I am not saying that I think that exact goals are pointless. I think specific goals and writing them down is valuable. I have found that for me personally I do well if I get up everyday and go to work. I do not make drastic changes when I do really well or really poorly. I sow seeds every day. I am not going to be out worked in this sport. I am going to do my absolute best. It is possible that I will make the NFR this year and it is possible that I do not. My horses have been working really well and I have a lot of confidence in my roping. I am not defined by a single win or loss. Daisy and Rue are both healing up well.
I'm headed to the practice pen. Thanks for reading.
God Bless, RopeBetter,
Buddy Hawkins II