Two weeks ago, my youngest son competed at his first high school rodeo. He will start his freshman year tomorrow, and it’s a big jump going from junior high rodeos to high school.
In junior high, he led all of his events last year, for most of the year. He almost always had a great rodeo each weekend of the season, and he was almost always in the hunt for the weekend all around. Up until the state rodeo, he was almost a lock on the year end all around.
We talked about the reality of his chances for this year. He will compete in two events this fall: calf roping and team roping. And it will be tough for him to place consistently like he did during the past three years. He’s not as big or as experienced as a lot of the boys he’ll be competing against this year.
And he understands that. He told me a few weeks ago that he’s just going to have fun this year. That’s a great attitude to have. And I’m confident he will place at rodeos. He just won’t have the same opportunities as he has in junior high. There are considerably more boys entered in high school events, and because of that, any mistakes during his runs will most likely cost him a placing.
His first day of competition in Lewistown was a bust for both events. He got his calf caught and tied, but it kicked free before the six seconds ticked off the clock. And he couldn’t get his steer turned for his partner in team roping.
On Sunday, he duplicated the no time in team roping, but he ended up placing fifth in the calf roping. It wasn’t his fastest or prettiest run, but he got a time, and that’s all that mattered to him that day.
He had last weekend off and will have this weekend off, then next week he competes at his hometown rodeo in Whitehall. He’s hoping to get a couple more times under his belt.
As long as he stays relaxed about the rodeos, he should be fine. And once he and his partner catch a few steers, they’ll probably be in top ten in team roping. They had times last year in junior high that would have beaten a lot of the high school kids. Right now, they’re in a bit of a slump. I think Garris puts too much pressure on himself to turn a steer for his partner.
When they were winning rodeos last year, they roped without fear. Garris needs to find that zone again.
Now that he’s competing against the big boys, he’ll have to focus harder than he has for awhile. But that will make him a stronger competitor in the long run. He’s got the talent to be in the hunt for points; he’s just got to believe in himself enough to let that talent shine through.