Those dreaded “ugh” days actually matter. They are nearly as important as those success days, because in the end, it is the process it takes to reach the wins that amplifies the appreciation and gratitude. Photo courtesy Regan Davis

By Regan Davis

It’s crazy in barrel racing how fast you can go from the top to being what some may consider a “humbled mess.” I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it. I’ve been that “humbled mess.” 

Within the past month, I have witnessed myself, siblings and friends go through this (all too common) funk., although one specifically seemed to strike my heart more closely than the others. 

At only 12 years young, I can confidently and certainly say my sister is an inspiration. A humble influencer. She works hard, rides with no regrets and is tough. She is confident, but also humble. She understands that you don’t win every time you enter the arena, and that is okay. At such a young age, she has gained the remarkable comprehension that it is a journey—a journey of highs and lows—and she has accepted that. I aspire to be more like her every time I enter the arena. 

September 2020 was the start of her junior high school rodeo career. In only two short rodeos, she proved to be more than just a rookie. She proved to be a fierce competitor with a fire within to succeed. This fire led her to holding the district’s top place in the junior high’s barrel racing division. 

She hit the local jackpots and this streak continued to persist, not only adding to her resumé, but demonstrating consistent improvement. While running with some of the top barrel racers on the West Coast, she exhibited all the traits it takes to be at the top. 

It seemed that nothing has changed outside of the performance arena. The same practice rituals, that same fierce winning mindset and the same desired positive attitude. But something did change. Almost instantaneously. At least, we thought so. 

No-time after no-time. Barrels down, off-course runs and even more tears shed. Heartbreak after heartbreak. A point when that roller coaster to success meets the truth. She quickly realized that. 

She quickly realized it happens. She was that humbled mess. 

We all have those “ugh” days. The slap on the leg days. The shaking-your-head-while-exiting-the-arena days. The holding-back-the-tears days. It’s frustrating. Over the recent months, I have come to the important understanding that “it’s okay for things not to be okay.” (Katie Hollingsworth) This recently acquired knowledge reminded me that those days matter. 

My sister has reminded me, at a point in my career when I needed the reminder, that it is a constant journey. Regardless what level of my career I achieve, I will still be enduring those humbling stages, and that is OK. In the moments when my sister hits the bottom, my aspiration to carry the pride, grace and respect she possesses remains even stronger. That those dreaded “ugh” days actually matter. They are nearly as important as those success days. Because in the end, it is the process it takes to reach the wins that amplifies the appreciation and gratitude. That journey of highs and lows.

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Regan Davis is a California native, college rodeo competitor and longtime contributor to the Barrel Horse News Youth Forum. She founded the annual charity barrel race Just Breathe And Run in support of her sister, Danika Davis, who is affected with cystic fibrosis.

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