I just returned from our time spent at the NFR. It was a success on many levels–we had a safe trip to and from, I got to spend some time with great people that I don’t normally see otherwise, I got to meet some amazing new people at our booth, and I realized how much Go Rope has truly grown in just one year. In the middle of all that was a whole lot of team roping. 

During the chaos of the week, I was able to sneak away from the booth for a couple afternoons and rope at the 2016 World Series qualifiers over at The Orleans, produced by Mathews Land & Cattle Co. My roping partner, Justin Allen, and I were blessed to win one roping and place in another. Our ticket for the 2016 WSTR Finale is punched, and we couldn’t be happier! I truly enjoy roping with Justin. Not only is he a very talented, up and coming roper, but he is a genuinely good person who is great to be around. As I watched roping run after roping run last week, and compared them to my own, the purpose of this blog was born in my mind.

Be the partner you want to rope with.

Several years back, I was trying to convince a good friend of mine to rope in Reno with me at the invitational team roping put on by Perry DiLoreto. This friend was someone I had roped a bunch with and had quite a bit of success with. He seemed hesitant to enter, and I wasn’t sure if it was the financial commitment of the high entry fee, or if he wasn’t sure we could compete down there. I remember telling him, “If you want to go but would rather rope with someone else, that’s cool. I don’t want to rope down there with someone who doesn’t believe in my ability 100%.” And I meant it. Personally, I can’t think of many things more defeating in and out of the arena than backing in the proverbial box to rope a steer and thinking “I hope I don’t screw this up for this guy.” Think about it–feeling doubted by your peers in any situation is brutal. We all perform better when we know we have people that believe we can succeed on our team.

Back to last week. If you’ve watched team roping in any capacity for more than a few hours, you’ve seen it. The header drops his head rope in disgust if the heeler misses, or the heeler disrespects the header (and their horse) by blowing in behind a missed steer and trying to heel it. You’ve probably seen worse than those two scenarios. I don’t know why it hit me so hard this week (maybe because my own partner was so positive and upbeat by comparison), but I realized– Who really wants to rope with guys like that?

Justin and I didn’t have any luck in the Finale at the South Point. Sure, we were hoping for a big fat check, but it didn’t work out. After every steer, we remained positive and hopeful. I can say with certainty that I roped well last week because I knew Justin believed in me, my horse, and our abilities as a team. I believe his talent, ability, and horsemanship wholeheartedly, as well. I know that when we rope, no matter what the outcome, Justin will be upbeat and encouraging at the other end of the arena. That makes it fun and enjoyable, win or lose. When we ran our last steer at the South Point, we just high-fived, and reminded each other that we were already qualified to come back next year. I can’t wait!

I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I can say that I have never been upset with a partner for missing (no one tries to miss a steer!), but I have been frustrated with my own performance and lost my cool, upset with myself, more than I care to admit. It’s taken me more years than it should have to realize that such behavior is pointless and self-defeating. I could give you hundreds of examples of things we’ve all seen–what not to do, how not to act, etc. But instead, I’ll just say “Be the partner you want to rope with.” That sentence applies to so many situations in life–your friendships, your marriage, your business relationships. Be the person who brings others up and makes them believe in themselves. I guarantee you will see improvements in the attitudes, performance, and confidence of those around you, as well as your own.

Life is short. Go Rope.