The Pout Rule
How can I help my child feel better after a tough day competing?
By Sharon Widmer
All her life my daughter, Camarie Widmer, the CEO of RodeoKids.com, has been a fierce competitor. At three years-old she occasionally made exhibition runs during rodeos at the end of the barrel race. The crowd loved it! If Camie was unhappy with her run, she would plop down on the trailer step, stare at the ground and be mad that she didn’t ride her good old sway-backed horse, Wheels, better.
Nothing we said seemed to make her feel better, so we created the pout rule and gave her a designated time limit for pouting. In that time, she was required to go into the trailer, by herself, and come back out in 10-15 minutes with a smile. We made it her responsibility to recover from her disappointment. Being a social little girl, it usually didn’t take long to see her smiling again.
At sixteen, Camie had an exceptionally bad High School Rodeo day. Her goat got up, her barrel horse blew barrels and a couple of poles went down, too. Then she missed in the team roping and the breakaway. She came to the trailer mad at herself and her horses, ready to give it all up. The 15-minute pout rule had expired and she was still extremely frustrated and struggling to deal with what felt like all-around defeat.
I asked her to explain to me how she was feeling and not hold anything back. I wrote down every emotion she expressed on a separate slip of paper and put them all in a bucket. Then with great fanfare, I pulled out each message, read it out-loud, tore up the slip and tossed it in the trash. Listening to her own emotions being read out loud and then tossed in the trash made it obvious how small her problems really were. Before long she was laughing at herself and seeing things in a new perspective. I gave her a Pepsi and told her to go find your friends. She did and of course, she did better the next day.
The pout rule applies to anyone in our rig that needs a few minutes to “reflect”, sometimes that includes parents! After a competition or a bad practice, you get 15 minutes alone to be disappointed, remember how blessed you are to have a horse and be able to compete, and then smile, even if you have to force it. Watch the video, decide what you can do to be better next time, and then go have some fun with your friends. No one does good all the time, especially in the sport of rodeo. Have fun, practice at home, stay positive and get ready for the next one!
We believe in you!