Chasing Dreams One Barrel at a Time
By Jordan Deatherage, a Lakota Young Professional
Hi my name is Jordan Deatherage I am 21 years old and I am one of your Lakota Young Professionals from Arizona. Barrel racing is my life and all I know I have been competing for almost six years now and let me tell you its not all glam and fame. I recently had the opportunity to start traveling and going outside my bubble to chase my goals. That opportunity brought me to the bright lights of Las Vegas during one of busiest times of the year in rodeo. That’s right during the blistering cold weather of December and the Wrangler National Finals rodeo.
It was called the All-in Barrel race right smack dab center of all the chaos of the Stetson country Christmas, where hundreds of girls came to compete for $250,000 dollars the best of the best trainers and riders. Running against names like Amberly Snyder, Tammy Fisher, Stevie Hillman, and Sydney Blanchard to name a few. This was a dream come true and of the best times of my life. Although we walked away one spot out of $10,000 dollars I took home new goals and a new mind set.
You can imagine the frustration and anger I had being so close to it all and being a tenth of a second too fast for big money. Yes, it made me sick, it ate me up most of that afternoon but I had to take a step back and think about the fact I went out there and gave it my all on a new horse I didn’t know. To be able to say I went and did what I love most. From the interviews with different companies and being on tv, to running down the same alley as my role models that to me is the biggest win I could ever have.
I’m here to talk to you today about setting goals, how to deal with bad runs and how to prepare and what techniques I use. I want to talk to you about never giving up and how important it is to have the support and love behind you even when you feel no one is there. You will only succeed as far as you push yourself!
I’m currently in my rookie season running in the Grand Canyon Professional Rodeo Association, although it’s been a blast its really showed me where I can improve and to always be prepared. We can all say we’ve taken more loses than wins, I know I have. Nothings more embarrassing than being first out at your first pro rodeo and blow your run only going around first barrel and straight back out the gate. Let’s talk about how to deal with those loses. Easier said than done I know, trust me I have had days where I just feel like giving up and thinking maybe I’m not meant to do this. But no matter what you must push on.
I never like to say loss or lose. Instead I say “I either win or I learn”. It’s absolutely 100% true. I like to ask myself where can I improve? What did I do differently that might of cost me that time? We can always take something from each run good or bad. We can always improve even if it’s as small as looking at your next barrel or dropping your had just one more inch. Get video it’s the most important part of improving watch yourself and figure out what you did differently or this is the time to see if maybe something isn’t right with your athlete.
Most Importantly don’t let it get you down. Even the pros have bad days. No matter what you must push on and not give up. Trust me being in my rookie season it’s not going as planned but it’s not going to stop me from chasing my goals.
Big shows can be intimidating and full of chaos it’s so important to be prepared. I can honestly say I’m THAT rookie that never knows where to go or what to do. Ha-ha. But people are so welcoming and point you in the right direction. So here we talk about preparation, it’s so important with all the chaos and nerves setting in. Nevers can get the best of us during big runs. I call it “checking my mind at the gate”, where you black out and don’t ride to your best ability.
Recently I was able to talk to my biggest role model Sherry Cervi at a local jackpot who would have ever thought right? I asked her how to get over the nerves, she told me that they never really go away we just get better at dealing with them. Even she still gets nervous! Things I do to calm the nerves is to listen to music on the way to the show or while saddling. But the biggest thing for me is talking, having someone keep me in a conversation takes my mind off the run and from getting nervous.
Just go out there and do what you’ve done a million times before and forget the crowd, forget the eyes on you, forget about that gate man yelling at you to hurry up. Just go in there and work. Another big part of preparation is having everything ready to go, your shirt lined out, your tack ready to go. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled into a rodeo and barrels be first what? Yeah its happened. Always allow yourself plenty of time. Rushing around only gets you frustrated and nervous.
Things I do to make sure I’m prepared is having everything ready to go the day before. But I’m also that person who shows up 2-3 hours early to ensure I know where to go and be ready. A big part of preparation to me is game plans. I cannot tell you how important this is. People say I like to study riders and the ground and its true. You’ll find me out there in the early morning with a hot coffee, notebook and pen in hand. Not only am I keeping an eye on those times coming in, I’m also using this time to watch the ground and make a game plan.
Say 7 out of 10 horses slipped at 3rd barrel, I’m not going to go barreling into third I’m going to really check my horse down and make sure he really rates and places his feet. Always be prepared and familiar yourself with your surroundings.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to never ever give up. Yes, there will be days you want to quit. Yes, the losses will be hard to take. But I promise you, you can improve and get back to the top. Trust me I have been there and I go back there more than I’d like to but I push on because I know I can do better. Never think that you can’t make your goals, because you can! I would love to see each one of you reach those goals no matter what they might be.
Having the love and support behind you is important I couldn’t do it without the support system I have and the love from them all and even the fans who follow my every move. Be a role model, set some goals and smash them! You will only be as successful as you push yourself to be. Chase those dreams and never give up!
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