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photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

I’d love to qualify for the National Finals so I can get ahead instead of being day-to-day.

by Cole Davison

I love team roping, but I have a family and need to make a living doing it. I’ve ended up on the other side of the bubble for the last four years. You go home broke, and you have to go to work.

This year, I have sixty-two thousand won so far as a heeler. That’s a lot, but when you add in the cost of the horses and the travel, you don’t break even. For four years I’ve had to go home and piece together a living. I ride horses, sell horses, put on team ropings, do all these things just to pay the bills. I’d love to qualify for the National Finals so I can get ahead instead of being day-to-day. Making the Finals is not guaranteed money, but it’s an opportunity. Even if you just do okay in Vegas, it’s a good living.

I’ve been rodeoing full time since 2014. I almost made the NFR that year. I finished seventeenth. Missed making the NFR by fifteen-hundred dollars. Then, for two years I tried to change a bunch of stuff, do things that wasn’t me. I changed horses, and that didn’t work out too good. I was trying to be too perfect. After every run, I wondered what I was going to do differently on the next run to be better instead of focusing on smaller details that worked for me and doing that every single time. My mind runs a lot. I would get to thinking about what I needed to do through the whole run instead of clearing my mind and focusing on Step One: hooking up to the steer when I leave the box. Simple stuff like that.

photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen

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So far, it’s been working out. I’m roping with Kolton Schmidt. He’s from Alberta, Canada, but he recently bought a place near me in Stephenville, Texas. We’ve been friends for a long time. Like everybody, we’ve had highs and lows, but, man, it’s been a good year. If either one of us messed up, we’ve gotten back on track pretty fast this year. That’s a good feeling, especially with the season winding down.

We both have great horses, and we don’t have any problems with the roping. It’s more our mental game. I’ve told Kolton all year that neither one of us has been accused of being too smart, so let’s just go back to what works. We’re almost better at seventy-five or eighty percent than trying to be one-hundred percent every time. Everybody is always like, You gotta give a hundred-and-ten, but we’re better off trying to back off a hair and just relax, have fun and do our job, rather than trying too hard to make things happen.

My good horse is Apollo. He’s eight years old. Everybody calls him a handful, and there’s some truth to that. Apollo’s kind of weird. He likes to be on his own, doesn’t like to be messed with. He’ll pin his ears back, but then he’ll put his head on your shoulder and just sit there. He’s got personality, that’s for sure. He just fits me. He’s got a lot of slide. And he’s really, really fast. You never feel like you’re behind on him. He never costs you. All you gotta do is rope. It’s pretty awesome to back into the box with that confidence. Apollo has helped me get back to where I was in 2014. And better.

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The end of the season has worked out absolutely perfect for me and Kolton. We’ve got seven rodeos left. In team roping, our rodeo count for the year is only seventy-five versus one hundred for most other events. A lot of team ropers don’t have but three or four left. Me and Kolton are entered everywhere we want to be. We can rodeo steady without feeling like we’re running a rat race. I can rest up and run my good horse everywhere.

I’m looking forward to every one of these last seven rodeos, the little ones as much as the big ones, because they all count. My very last one is the Cowboy Capital of the World Rodeo in Stephenville, where me and Kolton live. You might think we have the hometown advantage, but in team roping nearly everybody has the hometown advantage in Stephenville.

Read more about the other CINCH JEANS and Classic Equine athletes fighting to make the NFR. Follow #theCjHASE

photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen


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