No Complaints

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

We gave ’er one last whirl, but I couldn’t quite knock ’er out.

by J.J. Elshere

I have no complaints about the weekend. I drew good. I ain’t gonna say I rode ’em great, but I stayed on ’em, I guess. It dang sure paid. Oh, I probably could have rode a little better and maybe won enough to make the NFR, but it is what it is. We gave ’er one last whirl, but I couldn’t quite knock ’er out.

Friday night, I was up at the Xtreme Bronc Match in Mitchell, South Dakota. Was Feather Fluffer everything I thought he’d be? He was actually more. I was expecting a good hopper. Turned out he really bucked. He had a little hop-skip out of the chute, set me up a little and made me have to hunker down. I just went to swinging. I dang sure wasn’t ahead of him. I was just trying to stay with him and on him and was lucky to make the whistle. But I was eighty-seven on him. That won me thirty-six hundred dollars.

The next night at Sioux Falls, I rode Painted Commotion. That horse was a little bit of work. He’d get up pretty high off the ground, but then he’d move forward a little bit. He wouldn’t really kick over his head. He’d just kick out flat. It makes it a little more work when they’re doing that. They don’t send your feet forward. When they’re jumping and snapping it helps you get up underneath, and then your feet’ll just go. But when they kick out flat, like he did, you’re caught setting on your butt and locked in the back end. It takes more work to get your feet up there. Some days you’re just laid back having fun hoping the whistle never blows. Saturday night, I was dang glad I didn’t have to ride to nine!

But the thing is, Painted Commotion looked really flashy, and I think he sold the show for me. I split second and third with Chase Brooks and we each took home a little more than twenty-three hundred.

photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen

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My last rodeo was Sunday in San Bernardino, CA. I still needed around sixteen hundred to break the bubble. I drew a horse that nobody knew much about. I talked to the only guy who’d ever been on him in the bronc riding and he gave me some suggestions. I went with a short rein, which was good, because he was kind of phony-headed. Every time I’d lift the rein, his head would come up and he’d sling it from side to side. It was a lot of work trying to keep up with him. I dang sure didn’t have as good a trip as hoped, but we got him rode anyway. I was seventy-five and a half and still managed to place fourth. But the money wasn’t enough, and I finished the season at sixteenth, less than four-hundred bucks away from a trip to Vegas.

It’s okay. I tried. It’s hard not to look back at the ones you fell off of that you shouldn’t have that would have made you four-hundred bucks. But a guy should never do that. You can’t get ’em back.

I believe my five boys wanted it as bad as me, but they’re alright. They understand. If they are disappointed, it’s not with me. They know I tried.

As for next year, I think I’m gonna be a local cowboy. I’m gonna go back to staying close to home and just rodeoing around here.

That said, I’m up at the Badlands Circuit Finals this weekend. If you remember, the thing that started my run this year was how much money I won at the National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Florida, and those hundred-and-twenty friends who convinced me to hit the road. I’ll know on Sunday if I make it to Kissimmee again, I guess.

As for those friends, I’d like to say thanks to them and to all my family—so many people it would take all day to name them all. I’ve got a great community of supporters!

And thanks to God for all he’s given me.

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

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