As a professional rodeo athlete a majority of my time being gone away from Devils Tower Country is spent behind a wheel driving.
For a perspective of just how much driving, I roughly traveled 40,000 miles throughout the western region of the United States to attend 70+ professional rodeo events from April 1 to September 30. I can easily say I’ve gotten to see some beautiful country, unique places, and met hundreds of strangers, however, nothing compares to the road home and the thankful feelings of the road back to Devils Tower Country. I know I’m coming back to a place where hard work is valued, strangers don’t stay strangers for long, and clear blue skies can be seen for miles and miles.
Throughout my travels I’ve been fortunate to get to share with rodeo fans, fellow competitors, and even a few strangers in gas station parking lots how special Devils Tower Country truly is. It never fails that the question of where I call home is brought up in conversation and it didn’t take me long to discover this summer how fortunate I am that my roots run deep in this county. I have yet to find another place with the familiar feelings of community, the fresh air to clear the mind, and a large number of attractions for anyone and everyone to enjoy.
Professional rodeo is not an easy way to make a living, but there is no better lifestyle or career that reflects how I was raised and the community I grew up in.
Being a Devils Tower Country native has given me the work ethic and don’t give up attitude that was needed in order to complete my 2023 rodeo season, which in professional rodeo runs from October 1st of the previous year through September 30th of the current year. Throughout the season, I was presented with numerous challenges, but a quick trip back home always allowed me to refresh my mind and energy and start climbing the mountain back to success. Often times I would run into community members on my short visits home and their support and encouragement to keep pushing forward would be just what I needed.
The 2023 rodeo season saw successes in and out of the arena. I’ve been fortunate enough to once again qualify for the Mountain States Circuit Finals and the large indoor winter rodeos which only the best 40 breakaway ropers in the world are invited to compete at. I’ll be the first to admit, I fell short of my main goal of staying in the top 20 of the world and putting myself in a position to qualify for the National Finals of Breakaway Roping. No one was let down more than me, but as I wrote in my last blog if there’s one thing that Devils Tower Country has given me over the years is that I come from a place of resiliency and I have no doubt the lessons learned in 2023 will help me approach those goals in 2024.
I’ve gotten to compete alongside the best of the best in the world and compete in legendary arenas with sold out crowds, but after some reflection I’m proudest of the fact I get to call home to place that gave me the ability to stay true to my roots.
By not let the changing world influence me to be someone I am not I feel I have been able to represent the place I call home to my best ability. I have immense pride in knowing that I am getting to represent Devils Tower Country at rodeos across the US and share with rodeo fans and strangers along the way how special the place I get to call home really is. 2023 was a season of lessons and growth and 2024 is already off to successful start. I’m eager to see what the new season has in store and what stories unfold throughout the new year.