Being with Dad

 photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen

He built me up, made me feel bulletproof.

by Kaycee Feild

My Dad, Lewis Field, was a really special guy. He was a five-time world champion cowboy, but if you shook his hand and didn’t know who he was, you wouldn’t think he could even stay on a bucking horse.

No matter whether you were cleaning stalls or digging fence-post holes, it was fun with Dad. You could talk to him about anything, and you’d come away bigger and better, even if it was a bad thing that happened.

I used to talk to Dad two or three times a day. I could talk to him about my bareback riding over the phone. He wouldn’t even have seen the video. I’d say, “Man, I was eighty-six points. I could have been eighty-eight or eighty-nine, but this one jump felt funny.”

He would say, “Well, where was your free arm during the fourth jump?” And then I’d look at the video, and it was like, Oh, wow! How did he know?

I’ve rodeoed with my buddy Tilden Hooper for more than twelve years. My dad and Tilden developed a really neat relationship. They were great friends. Dad pretty much brought Tilden under his wing—taught him to be a better competitor and to think positive and not let the little distractions get in the way.

Whenever me and Tilden were out in Vegas for the National Rodeo Finals, we would get breakfast every morning with Dad. We made a point to hang out with him before each day’s performance, just to be built up. We didn’t even talk much about bareback riding. But when me and Tilden walked into the locker room, we were bulletproof and kind of giggling at everybody else because we had the best attitude, and it didn’t matter what horse we drew, because we were going to win. We got that from being with Dad.

I won the world championship every year from 2011 to 2014. Dad got sick with cancer and wasn’t able to go to the 2015 NFR. I should have won the world again that year, but I kind of stubbed my toe a few times. It was a difficult time. I had some really good talks with Tilden while Dad was sick at home instead of right there on the front row at the Thomas & Mack.

During Dad’s last few days, an influential friend came by and asked what he could do to help the family. Dad pulled him real close and whispered to him, “Just do what’s right.” That was my Dad’s motto. Just do what’s right. If you live your life by that simple rule, you’ll find true happiness.