To the “What’s My Draw?” Mamas…

Rodeo moms keep the Western world turning.
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Rodeo moms keep the Western world turning.

Dear Mama,

You might be reading this with a groggy mind after an all-night drive back from the junior rodeo in Lamar or Abilene or Mount Morris or Oakdale. Maybe you’ve got a pile of clothes caked with mud from the spring rains strewn about by the door, waiting for you to sort through, take the back numbers off and try to salvage. Or maybe you’re sitting in your kitchen with a little heart ache, looking out at that 25-year-old gelding who’s seen better days, sipping your morning coffee, remembering those all-night drives so long ago with muddy kids resting their heads on one another’s shoulders in the back seat, bouncing as you hit the rumble strips a few times.

You’re the ones who make this whole crazy little world we have work. You’re the ones who always knew the answer to “What’s my draw?” scribbled on a napkin or scrap paper or the back of your wrist. You always had the camera—or iPhone or iPad—at the ready. Without a doubt, you were ready with a hug, a hard truth or a high five, depending on how things went.

Maybe you worked the late shift behind the bar Friday to pay our fees Saturday morning, so we didn’t have to choose between entering the goat tying and the ribbon roping.

Maybe you're watching as your little ones rope the dummy, pretending they're headed to the Finals and wishing you could press pause just for a minute so you can enjoy this moment a while longer. 

Maybe you got up early Sunday to drive the four-wheeler to pull the sled when that heel horse got a little too short last night and took away the throw of that little girl in braided pigtails who wanted nothing more than to catch two feet at the last high school rodeo of her freshman year.

Maybe you’re enjoying a lazy weekend at home after flying around all winter watching your “kids” win $50,000 at RodeoHouston or snag the $100,000 at The American, looking at the pictures on the wall of the buckles and saddles won in years gone by.

Maybe you grew up in the suburbs and married into this whole mess, or your kid developed this passion out of nowhere, and here you are, trying to figure out the difference between a goat string and a piggin string or a 4D with 1/2 second splits and a 5D with 1/2, 1/2, full-second splits. 

Shoot, maybe you’re feeding the kids’ horses that are just standing around because your daughter is running track this year and your son would rather try his hand at baseball, and you’ll be darn if they don’t get to pursue their passions, whatever they may be.

Maybe your husband saddled your head horse, loaded the steers and already has his heel horse warmed up so you two can run a few while the baby takes a nap in her stroller alongside the arena. You’ve needed to get back to it after nine months off, after all, even if your riding and your roping are a little rusty.

And maybe you would do anything to have these experiences, and your heart breaks today, but you're doing your best to support the mothers in your life. 

Regardless, we couldn’t do this without you. Whether you’ve got the toughest little calf roper in junior rodeo, the handiest pole bender in the Little Britches ranks OR the most frustrating flag racer you’ve ever seen, we thank you for teaching your kids this Western way of life with kindness, compassion and love. Saying we couldn’t do this without you sounds cliché, but dang if it isn’t one of the truest sentiments ever expressed.

Moms, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.