As I write this, the College National Finals are underway in Casper, Wyoming, and many of our good friends are en route to Lebanon, Tennessee, for the National Junior High School Rodeo Finals. The National High School Rodeo Finals in mid-July in Gillette, Wyoming, is also quickly approaching. (Go Rope will be at the high school finals in Gillette, by the way. Come see us!)

To the contestants at these national finals events~ It’s understandable that you might put additional pressure on yourself to perform on a bigger stage against tougher competition. Pressure can be a motivator for some, and for others it can be a complete undoing of much hard work and preparedness. It’s easy to understand why some kids (and adults, for that matter) “pressure up.” You’re competing for national titles, scholarship money, prizes, etc. You’re competing against the best of the best–guys and gals who have undoubtedly put in many hours in the practice pen to get where they are and develop their God given talents. But wait……so have you!

Don’t put additional pressure on yourself to compete “against” others in your event. Focus only on what YOU need to do, and the goals you’ve set for yourself. You’ve roped hundreds of calves and/or steers, just like everyone else there has. You are ready, and you are BLESSED to be qualified and competing. There are hundreds of kids who missed nationals this year and would give anything to be wearing your back number. It’s easy to get wrapped up success measured only by saddles and buckles. But I can promise you that the best prizes you’ll win from youth rodeo at any level are the memories made, the lifetime friendships formed, and the lessons learned in work ethic, humility, and sportsmanship. You are fortunate to live in a country that allows you to compete in the sport you love and to have the means to do so. You are healthy enough to compete. You are talented. You are blessed. You are prepared. Keep that in mind, give thanks for your blessings…..and Go Rope.

Best of luck to everyone competing at the National Junior High Finals, the National High School Rodeo Finals, as the College National Finals Rodeo.