By Fallon Taylor
In December, rodeo fans the world over gather around the TV to watch our favorite athletes perform. I remember how it felt to wish I were one of them, and I’m sure many of you are familiar with that feeling, too. Just like we all renew our gym memberships before bikini season (I let mine expire, by the way) everyone seems to get the rodeo itch after watching the Top 15 battle for a world championship or Wrangler National Finals Rodeo title for 10 days in Las Vegas this December.
I have been incredibly blessed to be one of the contestants competing at the WNFR many times, but I still get butterflies inside when I think about running down the alley at the Thomas and Mack Center Arena—just like I did when I was a little kid!
This past summer I hauled a “newbie” down the road, and it was so funny to see the rodeo road from her perspective. Her first words to me after loading her saddles, feed, and workout gear (I laughed) into my tie-dye trailer were: “I’m going to keep us both in shape down the road. Do you have tennis shoes?”
I just laughed out loud, shifted into gear, and off we went!
After the first 10 days she was so sick she had to turn out of three rodeos. She couldn’t stand, eat, drink, or do much of anything. I realized that my body is conditioned to the abuse of hauling for long periods of time, but that the outside perspective of what goes on must be much different.
After my hauling partner finally whipped what was ailing her, I inquired if she was ready to work out. Then I asked what major differences there were between how she perceived the rodeo road and what it was actually like.
We decided to put bring up and dispel a few rodeo myths to help you prep and plan before heading out on a long rodeo adventure yourself. For starters, you can leave your workout clothes at home and break out a fresh set of driving duds.
Myth: You will always have a safe place to house your horse that is provided by the committee waiting for you whenever you get to each rodeo. Of course it will be free of charge.
Truth: It is more common than not to have to “fight” for stalls at each rodeo due to lack of space for all of the contestants, plus the locals who ride in the grand entry and parade, the queens, and of course the stock contractors who will have first rights to space. Most of the time your stalls are free but don’t be surprised by $40 per night fees.
Myth: You will always have time for a good healthy sit-down meal.
Truth: You will almost never have time for a good healthy sit-down meal, so meal prepping before your trip and having a good plan can help keep you as healthy as possible. Eating healthy is a more important factor than you can imagine when pushing your body to its limits.
Myth: You will have plenty of rest time between rodeos, as well as ride your horses and stay rested.
Truth: More than once, and probably closer to a dozen times over the June and July run, you will have to drive all night to make it to an early morning slack. Rest is extremely important. Once the horses are settled in, make sure your booty is in bed, no matter the time of day.
Myth: It is easy, will make you rich and famous and all you need is a good horse.
Truth: It is difficult, it is a struggle, and it is expensive… And it is so worth it!