I grew up with cattle and horses but definitely did not come from a rodeo family. Trying to figure out where and how to start was the hardest part of rodeo for us. We are very grateful for the wonderful people who have helped us along the way, and we are thrilled that RodeoKids.com is now online to help people like us find events to attend and the help and tools we need.
If you are starting at the bottom like we did, I recommend starting by finding a coach and attending some clinics. It is also helpful to find an arena with public practice as there will always be someone willing to help and give you advice. Also, understand that asking for help isn’t saying you aren’t competent. It makes me sad to hear a parent say “I’ve ridden my whole life; my child doesn’t need a coach or clinic”. I promise you- you will hold your child back from progressing with this mindset. Make it easy on yourself and your children, these people are at the top for a reason… be willing to learn from the Pros, they have done the hard work and figured out what it takes to be successful.
After you get a few things figured out, and hopefully a little success in the arena- look for a sponsorship. One of the best things we did for our kids was to become a part of the Performance Pony Company’s Pony Pro Team. Good sponsors want you do to your best and are very willing to answer any questions they can. Most offer discounts on their products, too, which is wonderful, especially when you have more than one child that wants to rodeo. Camie Widmer at The Performance Pony Company for example, has been very helpful to us!
We are really just getting started in this journey but consider it an incredible blessing to raise our children in a sport that supports its youth, values hard work, and integrity.
Here are some of the most valuable advice that we received over the years:
~ Make your practice harder than the actual competition
~ Remember to enjoy the rodeo. After all, if you are doing what you love to do, it’s a good day. Count your blessings, do your best, and work hard to do better the next time.
~ The most important wins are sometimes just simply improving your own personal best
~ When faced with the pressure of a finals or short round, don’t try to make any big changes, trust doing what got you there in the first place
Advice from Kathy Schwanke, a Rodeo Mom
“When you are not practicing, remember someone somewhere is, and when you meet him, he will win” Ed Macauley