Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chasing Calves & Christ

It usually doesn't take long for people to realize I'm a passionate person. And if you know me well, you know that roping is one of those passions. It is the ultimate cowboy sport and is a true display of quality horsemanship and teamwork. Of all the ways I can use a horse, this is my number one preference.

This last weekend I had the opportunity to go with my dad to Joplin Regional Stockyards and attend the "Best of the Best" calf roping. The top 15 calf ropers in the world, along with 12 invited ropers (many of whom were just as good) all competed for a purse totaling $100,000, with the winner of short round taking home $20,000 alone. Needless to say, I was quite excited for this opportunity, but I really had no idea the perspective and experience I would encounter.

Before I continue, it's probably a proper introduction to say that many of these guys I have followed at the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) every year and I guess you could say that I do idolize some of them...in a good way. I'll never forget approaching the sponsor tent on Saturday and having 17-time world champion roper and King of the Cowboys Trevor Brazile walk within 5 feet of me....I turned to my dad and said, "That's probably the closest you'll ever get to him!"

It was an absolutely amazing experience meeting icons such as Trevor, Tuf & Clint Cooper, legends Fred Whitfield and Blair Burke, and "Shazam" Matt Shiozawa. But the story gets even cooler....

Most places where people of national recognition are gathered keep those individuals rather protected and secure. Fans are generally limited to both time and access of their heroes. But not at the Best of the Best. Not only was I able to stand within 5 feet of one of my greatest roping icons (and later get a picture with him), but as dad and I milled around the crowd, we found that all the ropers were right amongst us visiting, signing autographs and taking pictures...as if they were just another person. We were quite surprised at the casual atmosphere, and looking back I wish I had taken the opportunity to visit with some of them more, but the experience was as close to a dream as you can get.

I never would've guessed in a million years I would actually
meet one of the greatest ropers of all times and one of my heroes
17 time World Champion roper Trevor Brazile.
So now onto the real purpose of this post. While I did want to share my incredible excitement of meeting these cowboys, shaking hands and getting up close in person, that still wasn't the coolest part of the day.

Trevor Brazile, Tuf & Clint Cooper and Stran Smith are four of the best ropers in the world. They have set world records and are legends in their own time. But the thing that I admire most about these three cowboys is how they profess their faith. Of the five autographs I got on Saturday, three gave reference to God and Jesus.

Clint Cooper

Stran Smith

Trevor Brazile

They are Christians before they are cowboys and they never let a opportunity pass to give credit where credit is due.

And as for young Mr Tuf, on his shirt collar "Jesus" is embroidered and every time he is interviewed at the NFR, he never ceases to credit God for his success.

Many athletic celebrities get caught up in the life of fame and fortune and forget who they once were. But for these cowboys, the only difference between them and me is they make a lot of money throwing a rope...they're still a cowboy, a human and a down-to-earth normal person. They will carry on a conversation and visit with you like you're their next door neighbor. They're genuine, they're real, they're true Christian cowboys.

Until next time, you can find me off the beaten path and ridin for the brand!!!

1 comment:

  1. Great Post!! I too am a very avid rodeo fan. I had the opportunity to meet Trevor, back last September in Omaha Nebraska, along with many other cowboys. I have to agree that unlike any other professional sport the cowboys are so friendly and willing to talk and take the time to meet you and really give all their success to the lord. My dad and I recently were at a Bull futurity in Iowa when Cord McCoy (professional Bull rider for the PBR) was standing behind us I turned and started talking with him and we talked for almost 20 min or more about raising bulls. They are just every day guys who have a very special talent.

    Have A Great Day