So Close

 photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

With my body sound, I’m sure looking forward to next year.

by Adam Gray
 
 

I missed making the National Finals Rodeo by five hundred and eighty-three dollars. I can’t lie: I’m disappointed. Five hundred and eighty-three dollars! It’s so easy to look back at all the places I could have won that.

One place was Omaha last Saturday night. My calf ran really hard and ran left, and I reached and missed her. I was trying to win more than the calf I had drawn really could have allowed me. It was one of those end-of-the-year deals. If Omaha would have been two weeks before, I would have swung two or three more times and tied the calf and taken fifth or sixth. Instead, I was trying to get out of there with first or second. I was sure going at her. My whole life, I’ve lived off take-what-you-can-get. I wished I would have that night. Hell, eighth paid nearly a thousand dollars. That would have made the difference. There are tons of places I could point to. It’ll just drive you nuts.

This was the third year I finished at seventeen. In 2015 I was seventeen. In 2016 I was seventeen. In 2017, I didn’t have a ranking because of my surgery. Let’s just say seventeen isn’t my favorite number. If I go to Whataburger, and they hand me seventeen, I say give me a different number.

But if you’d have told me a year and three months ago—when I was still using a walker after my surgery—that I’d be battling for a spot at the 2018 NFR, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’m just glad to know that I can still do what my mind thought I could do.

 photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen


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I feel great. This is the first time in years where I can drive without feeling like I’m sitting on an ice pick. Even on the long drives. There’s been times when I’ve gotten out at truck stops to go in and old men held the door open and asked me if I was alright. My limp’s gone, too. I had this really weird walk. My Mom and my fiancé both miss it. They liked my little bit of a waddle. They say they used to be able to pick me out of a crowd from a mile away. I’m sure glad it’s gone.

And I’m sure looking forward to next year. With my body sound, I’m like a college kid again. I want to go to stuff. On Wednesday, I went to a little two-for-a-hundred jackpot in Mineral Wells. I didn’t ride Tux. It didn’t pay enough to justify that. A horse like that is like a star running back. You can’t hand them the ball every time.

This is the soundest I’ve been in years. I sure think it’s helped my performance. I haven’t given up on winning a gold buckle. I really feel like its possible, especially based on my win percentage these last couple of months. Having a horse that fits me helped. Not to mention this fall I had calves that took the tie. Drawing good never hurts. You can do everything right, and if you have a bad calf, you still can’t win money.

Of course rodeo is a weird deal. It can be really easy at times and really hard at times. It’s sure a humbling sport.

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


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