Ever since I was a kid my Dad always kept telling me the same pointers to be successful in rodeo. The number one rule was to have fun no matter what happens, number two was to always lift on my bull rope and the final rule was in order to play the game you have to take the pain!
My Dads third rule could not have been more on point and it is something that we as cowboys and cowgirls have to deal with every time we enter that rodeo arena. In my Dads rodeo career I have watched him endure some nasty wrecks and still go to work come Monday morning.
I have been subject to his third rule more than I’d like to admit, and as I sit here with a broken clavicle and an AC/CC separation it just keeps playing in my head!
Back in September of last year I decided that it was time to get back at er and return to the sport I love so much. Before I could even look at any kind of rodeo schedule I first had to get in shape. I spent all winter long in the gym and managed to get in the best shape of my life.
Spring rolled around and the butterflies were rolling hard in my stomach. When I entered the first rodeo of the season I couldn’t sleep for a few days which was weird because that has never happened to me. Upon getting to the rodeo I was ambushed with chastising and jokes of being a relic coming back to the sport, it was all in good humor and I took it in stride!
My welcome back ride was nothing to brag about it ended very fast and I got run over on top of that. But I got up and the fire was back in my blood I wanted them to run up 6 more bulls for me. I immediatley knew what I did wrong and had one weeks time to build on it.
Onward to the next rodeo I drew a bull I knew nothing about but who was I kidding I had been gone for so long that I didn’t know any of the bulls. This ride went a lot better even though I bucked off, I came off with a huge smile on my face it was a night and day difference from a week ago.
Paris Ontario aboard Rawhide Rodeos #111
The third rodeo was one that I’ve been going to since I was a kid. In fact The Milverton rodeo is the first rodeo I ever rode in when I was 8years old. As soon as I went to see what bull I drew my good buddy came up to me and said “well looks like you got the bad one”
I replied with “how so”
He continues with “well I hear he likes to jump out of the chutes”
I smiled and walked away, it wasn’t the first time I’ve dealt with young bulls in the chutes and won’t be the last so I wasn’t concerened.
When it came time to load the bulls mine stayed true to form and was trying to jump out of the chute. It fired me up more than anything. I got out of the chutes clean but roughly 4 seconds into the ride I was on the ground. The bull kicked my heels back and I landed shoulder first in the dirt!
Milverton Ontario aboard Joe Shaws #808 Anger Management
As soon as I got up and away from the bull I knew something was wrong. I went behind the bucking chutes to my riggin bag and I felt sharp pains towards my left shoulder I could also hear and feel the bones grinding in my shoulder. Now I’m no doctor but I’m pretty that’s not suppose to happen, so I used my western shirt as a sling and off to the hospital I went.
After xrays and several hours of sitting and waiting I was told that I broke my collar bone. As unfortunate as that was to hear I was honestly hoping that it was just a dislocated shoulder and they could pop it back in and I’d be back riding bulls in no time. That may have been my cowboy pride talking but no such luck. I was forced to draw out of the next few rodeos and sit on the couch.
2weeks since the accident my arm started feeling great and I could see myself entering some rodeos in late August to early September but misery loves company. I went for my first follow up exam since that emergency room in Stratford Ontario. I went in looking for good news and was told that on top of a broken collar bone I also have a AC/CC separation, and was told that physio is a must.
AC/CC separation almost 3cm!
The good news is that physio starts next week the bad news is I was told to not rodeo for up to 12 weeks and that my “come back season” was likely over. The idea of not riding for the rest of the season deeply saddens me but I have to keep my head up, kick physios ass and return even stronger.
The term “Play The Game Take The Pain” is the unwritten rule in rodeo. It doesn’t just apply to getting a good stomping and still going to work the next day or cowboyin up and nodding your head when your in pain. Its much more than that, its coping with the fact that your season can end with just one ride and instead of beating yourself up you have to stay positive. If you struggle to stay positive and optimistic then you may as well hang up your spurs cuz your rodeo dreams are over.
Let Er Buck