Injuries healed, I hit the road. An image of a dark horse coming from the back of the pack gathering ground on the leaders was an image I clung to. My first horse back came in Mercedes, Texas, and if being hurt all winter wasn’t motivation enough to win, driving diagonally across Texas sure is.
My initial draw leapt forward into the front of the chutes, then spun out backwards. My elephant hide Justin’s buried at the break of the horse’s shoulders had me sitting rock solid and ready for his every move, regardless. I was awarded a re-ride option and got on my horse after the rodeo. My re-ride was named First Place, and though I left the rodeo splitting first with a ‘high-score of the day buckle’ I ended up 3rd overall at the rodeo with a 77 point score, which got my confidence going enough in itself after such a hideous run of bad luck. On to Goliad: I scraped up another 3rd place with an 82. I was on cloud nine - loving life and glad to be on the trail.
I went in to Austin eager to repeat my 2011 Rodeo Austin win. Sadly I did not repeat 2011, as my draws did not translate into a short-go berth or a check, however I was thankful to use the pickup man and avoid a repeat of 2012 when I smacked my head on the arena’s concrete wall during a dismount that leading to a severe concussion and several hours of confusion and headaches.
From my fruitless Austin venture I went to Nacogdoches, only to get on a few of Classic Rodeo’s colts, which were not ready to see the lights of town yet. Thankful to just leave a rodeo healthy with a few more practice rides, if nothing, else under my belt, I drove down to Beaumont, Texas, to climb on Frontier Rodeo’s Big City, who was a sweetheart, bucking in such smooth rhythmic timing, to not ride with an equally smooth spur motion seemed impossible. I may have made it look too easy, or Donnie Gay’s announcing how easy to ride my horse was may have hindered too generous a score, but my 80 held in for 4th place.
There was no time to rest - it was on to Cave Creek, AZ, to ride Cervi’s Daisy Duke. Though my 80 was one hole out of the money, I was once again grinning a sly grin post ride as I walked back to the chutes. Like I was the only one who knew the punch line to a joke I was grinning wide, because I had gotten my style, my technique, my horseback charisma back. And when opportunity arose, I knew I would win.