Early Season Update

New Years Resolutions, Odessa, Tx.
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New Years Resolutions, Odessa, Tx.

The #RoadtoNFR14 is well underway now. Each season officially starts in October and ends in September, but Odessa really feels like the beginning. The fall rodeos are scattered across the country and most of them are 1 go round and don’t add much money, but most everybody enters Odessa. The NFR counts toward the previous season so when it is over if feels like you are back to square 1. I love it, I’m really excited about this season. For me this year is primarily about working towards financial stability. I cannot spend my life chasing a dream that does not fulfill my families financial needs. I am pushing really hard to rope at the highest level. I want to be confident that I have the best chance to win possible. I am really blessed to be able to do what I love, but I need to make money. Somebody said, "Money is not the most important thing in the world, but it is right up there with oxygen." I agree! 

In addition to my PRCA card I bought my URA(United Rodeo Assn.) and my IPRA(International Professional Rodeo Assn.) memberships. Most of the top guys do not compete much outside the PRCA. I feel however that right now I need to go to as many rodeos and finals as possible. I also declared Texas as my PRCA circuit and hope to qualify for the Texas Circuit Finals. The Prairie Circuit Finals usually conflict with the USTRC finals and I have had to choose which to attend. 

My horses have been feeling better and better as I have worked on the way I ride them. My roping is steadily improving. Drew and I are entered in many rodeos and entering more each day. Odessa is fun because in addition to the rodeo the tuesday before the team roping slack they have what they call “Super Tuesday”, which is a day full of roping. They start with the first 4 grounds of a 5 head Open roping (this year it was an American Qualifier) which had around 180 teams and lasted most of the day. In the evening they have a tiedown match, team roping match, Pro-Am. roping, and finally the short go for the Open roping. I had a truly “Super Tuesday” this year. Cale Markham and I won the American portion of the open roping and came back high callback. We where invited to rope in the match because we won the American part. We won two rounds of the match. I won 2nd in the Pro-Am. roping and we ended up winning the main roping also. I won nearly $17,000 the first big outing of the 2014 year. It is really a great feeling to win so much jackpotting. 

I have spent the entire fall working on my consistency. Growing up I went to every jackpot I could enter from when I was 16 years old on. I love the mental side of jackpots. It is a constant challenge to keep your mind on the task at hand and not get caught up in what everybody else is doing. I became a pretty good jackpotter at each level. Even when I started rodeoing a little I was really consistent at the jackpots. In 2008 I won 3 trucks and placed in multiple ropings at the USTRC finals. In both 2009 and 2010 I was reserve champion of the USTRC open tour. I have since placed at the George Strait and BFI but I realized in the fall of 2011 that I needed to speed my roping up if I was going to be able to compete with the best in the world at the rodeos. I changed my focus to trying to learn to getting position faster and finishing the run fast enough to win. Neither consistency nor speed is something that I will ever feel I have mastered but I try to approach each practice with an idea of what I am going to work on that day. I rodeod most of the 2012 season but had to come home before it was over. I did however get to see how the best heelers that ever lived heeled steers, and received insight from both headers and heelers that where rodeoing. Thank you Clay Tryan! 

I came home and went to work. I rode higher than I ever had before, and started taking chances pushing my limits. When the 2013 season started I had a different perspective than ever before. I was no longer caught up trying to “not miss”. I was trying to win, and we did well. I spent almost all year focused on my rodeo run. I lost some of my consistency at the jackpots. This fall when we got home from rodeoing I started working on my consistency because I knew that even at the NFR you need to catch all your cattle. Drew said he wanted to try to win go-rounds and I knew if he was gonna take the chances I needed to finish the course consistently. I didn’t rope like I wanted to out there. I messed up several times but I learned a lot and came home and went back to work. It is not “Smooth Sailing” from here on out but it feels good to compete consistently at this level. I have always felt like if I could put the consistency I always had together with the speed I’m now developing that I could be one of the best. We didn’t do any good at the Odessa Rodeo. Like I said “work in progress”. LOL. Updates coming soon from Denver.

Rope Better, 

Buddy Hawkins