Next Year . . .

My son Cyris spent this past week competing at the CNFR in Casper. It was his first time, as a sophomore. He was excited and ready to rope!

He was up Monday morning slack, and his first run started out with a quick catch, a great get off, and a super start to his experience. Then, the calf started running toward him instead of running the other direction. There was too much slack in the rope, and his horse wasn’t helping him. He finally got the calf flanked and had a fast, effective tie. He was 14 flat. Longer than he wanted, but he knew if he had two solid runs in rounds two and three, he could still make the short round.

The next morning was his second round. Again, he caught quickly, just out of the chute. He got off, ran down the rope, and was set up for redemption from his first run. About halfway to the calf, the rope bounced off the neck, and the calf scampered away. So did Cy’s chances of making the short go. With that no time, he knew he would be done by the third round. It was a long ride out of the arena for him that morning.

Wednesday night was his third and final calf. He was the last man out for that performance. He caught quickly, got off effectively, and made it to the calf without any speed bumps. He flanked well. Then he missed his string, which took some extra time. Then, he tried to make up time on his tie, which bunched up his pigging string. He was under thirteen seconds. But he was out of the placings.

My heart hurt for Cy that night. He struggled all year to rope well, and qualifying for the CNFR was a huge boost to the end of his college season. His goal for that rodeo was to put down three good runs and see how he stacked up against the best in the country. That’s what I wanted for him, too.

I know it’s not the end of the world. I know he’ll be back next year. I know there is always another rodeo. But that doesn’t lessen the pain right now.

Thursday morning, Cy told me that he would like to have his runs back. For a do-over. If I had a magic wand, I’d wave it for him and give him the opportunity to show off his real roping skills.

As his mom, I want to fix this for him. And I know I can’t.

The fact that he is one of the top 46 college calf ropers in the nation has escaped his thoughts. He earned his spot. And next year will be a better year.

Right now, I am encouraging him to just go rope this summer. Enter NRA rodeos. Enter calf roping jackpots. Team roping jackpots. Anything he can do to compete. Anything to raise his confidence back up.

When he starts his junior year next fall, I want him to be roping tough, so that he can be in the standings from the first rodeo.

Next year. Next year at the CNFR, he will be back. And he will be strong. A mother knows.

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