Pushing the Barrier by Speed Williams – September 2014


The Importance of Sportsmanship


Recently Spin to Win Rodeo published a video of Trevor Brazile talking about sportsmanship. He told how his father instilled in him, from a very early age, that if he pitched a fit or had a tantrum in the arena, that they would sell everything and be done with it.


My father was a little different. He also raised me to not have a temper tantrum at any time. You did not throw fits. Period. If you did, there would be a specific part of your anatomy that would be on fire. I received less than five spankings from my father in my entire life and they were all very severe. However, every time I got a whipping, it was after making the same mistake three times. First I got a warning, then another warning and finally a third and final warning. After that, the issue was addressed.


Sportsmanship was huge when I was a kid. You were expected to conduct yourself in a professional manner. You did everything in your power to win. You practiced and prepared to gain every advantage possible. But, you did not cheat. You did not have a fit, cuss the flagger, or ever show your butt in the arena in any way. It just wasn’t an option at my house. It wasn’t something you could even think about doing. For those who knew my father, you know what I’m talking about. He was an old school cowboy.


I’m not saying that the guys who throw fits – in and out of the arena – don’t win. They do win. But it is on hard on them and everyone around them when they don’t.


It’s not easy to deal to with failure but we should try and learn from it. Last weekend I was high call at the American qualifier in Waco. I had to be ten seconds to win the roping and $3,000 per man. I had to be 18-seconds to qualify for Mesquite. I waved it off the steer. Riding out of the arena, I was in shock, but at the same time felt like my horse had given me a chance. I made some mistakes. It was the second roping on a young horse that can run really fast. I know I’ll have more opportunities. Oddly enough, I had been practicing an 11-second high team run all week. I posted this video on speedroping.com and asked people why they thought it happened. Then I voiced over and broke it down.


I think it’s important how you handle yourself when you fail or make mistakes. My father taught me to figure out why you failed, then practice and prepare yourself to prevent that mistake from happening again. Do not waste energy fretting over things you cannot control. Fix the things you can control and save your energy for the next opportunity. That is my mindset when things go wrong. That’s why I film everything. I want to know what happened, what caused the problem and what I need to work on to eliminate that situation from happening again.


It was quite a compliment to have Trevor, “king of the cowboys,” name me, along with Clay O’Brien Cooper, as someone who can control their emotions.


What’s new with me: One of my dreams has come true. The other day after church, I asked the kids what they wanted to do. They both said they wanted to rope. So it was just my kids, my wife and I in the arena riding and roping. Hali has been roping a while and getting pretty handy. But since that day, Gabe has been roping non-stop, helping me with my schools and has become quite the little cowboy. I loaded a video of us roping that day. I enjoy sharing my advice with other parents. It’s always a challenge to keep them safe in the roping pen while keeping it fun and interesting.


Visit speedroping.com to watch the runs from Waco. We now have over 2,500 videos available for viewing.

August 15, 2014 |

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