Bittersweet Goodbye

My youngest son Garris is in Tennessee right now, competing at the National Junior High Rodeo. He qualified in three events: calf roping, ribbon roping, and goat tying.

He had big goals going into this rodeo. He wanted to at least place in one event. Actually, he wanted to win an event, most likely the goats. He has been the one to beat in Montana for two years in that event.

The first round of events has not been kind to him. He was in the first performance of calf roping, so he got a fresh calf. He caught quick, had a good get-off, but the calf ran and jumped and made it difficult to flank. Once he had the calf down, he tied well and quickly. But he was long on his time, just outside the top twenty.

He missed his first ribbon roping calf. His hat popped off and deflected his loop as he threw.

The goat run was a disaster. He tied two eights at the state rodeo, and normally ties below ten seconds. As he got off, the goat ran toward his horse, making it difficult to push the goat to a good spot for the flanking. Long story short, he had a 15. It will be tough for him to make the short go with that time, unless he has a stellar second run this morning. And he needs a few of the other boys to make some mistakes.

I will admit, I was very frustrated when I watched that goat run. He had a legitimate shot to win the whole thing. He has the fastest hands of any boy his age. It felt like all the time, money, and energy that we’ve spent over the last three years just blew up.

I know he didn’t make a bad run on purpose. I know he’s disappointed as well. He drew a crappy goat. But he didn’t handle that crappy goat as well as he could have.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens from this point, see how the points and times shake out. And accept whatever the results end up being.

This is the stage of a rodeo that is hardest on us moms. We can’t do anything to help the kids during their runs. We have to watch them make their run. We have to wait for every performance to be over. And then we have to be positive and supportive, even during those times we really don’t feel like it.

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