My time as the Region VIII reporter is coming to a close, and I would like to take this auspicious moment to thank everybody for allowing me to represent them. I have had to take time and reminisce about the goods times that we have shared. There are moments that I wish would have gone on and on, the hearty laughter of close-knit family members and with caring buddies. Being a Region VIII member has been one of my best experiences. Importantly, I have learned many life lessons, such as respect, work ethic, and responsibility.
For me, memories of THSRA Region VIII will never fade. I cannot utter a goodbye without batting an eyelid. Since I joined in, Region VIII has been my cherished family. I have been profoundly fortunate to learn the ropes of rodeo in the most reassuring warmth. To this end, I am as skillful as a champion can ever be, and I have acquired the discipline of finishing and the virtue of sportsmanship. I am confident that all of us share these sentiments. Consequently, I can unflinchingly say that we would emerge triumphantly from the most grueling finals in the country.
Deserving of a mention are the valuable friendships that have flourished under the warm plumage of THRA Region VIII. Texas is the hub of cowboy activity, and from here, rodeo brightens the entire country. Even though there is cut-throat competition, rodeo for us has never been a solo run. In the past, different family members and friends have sat close together in the terraces to witness athletes sweat it out for their deserved positions. In spite of different expectations, our friendliness has always opened up common grounds. We all enter the runs intending to win. Nevertheless, after the runs, we have been amicable enough to embrace and pat each other on the back.
Thus far, we have put up a good battle, and there is no halting of the victorious wave. When most of us embarked on this journey, we must have been not more than adorable itty bittys. Those were the times you won’t feel the exhilarating loftiness of the saddle unless hoisted by a stronger hand. If not that way then, it would be a clumsy maneuver whose success spoke of an undiscouraged desire. You will all bear me witness that the budding cowgirl or cowboy, in addition to sheer bravado, is aided immensely by the friendly and conditioned horses. The journey from the beginnings to full mastery amounts to an impressive and satisfying time-lapse.
It is unarguable that we have done exemplarily well; however, it has not been smooth sailing all through. I do not take it for granted that I have served as the reporter during one of the most trying times. As the world reels from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is time to showcase rodeo resilience and discipline.
We have suffered most disheartening cancellations. Currently, we are talking of NJHRA canceling the nationals and Texas, putting off its junior high state finals to July. Our parents understand that we rodeo for a living and are remarkably proud of us for remaining strong amidst the turmoil. Despite the inevitable hurdles, we have to demonstrate the steadfast spirit of Texas cowboys. Besides, let us remember that we are not alone, and we will certainly manage through these hard times.
Nevertheless, we can take a sigh. The board, the leadership, and the city of Abilene have taken up the challenge to ensure that THSRA state finals go on as planned. We are most grateful to them for wearing their love for us on their sleeves. New changes have been made in the knowledge that times are not normal for rodeo.
As such, there would be no spectators, no grandparents, and no booths. Just two parents would be allowed. My heart sinks when I imagine that situation. However, this is all about caring for our safety, and we have no choice but to embrace the changes. My heart wells up with empathy for our devoted fans. They would have loved to stream into the new Taylor County Coliseum to witness the spectacle of state finals.
As I move on to the next level of my education and rodeo career, one of the hardest things is parting with our current leadership. From a recent interview, our region VIII president, Tom Aasbo, appreciated the responsibility bestowed upon him. Notably, he considers us an amazing lot. He advised us to take care of our animals so that they can perform exceptionally well. Also, he urged us not to concern ourselves with what others are doing; everyone involved has experienced the highs and lows of the sport.
Our Region VIII secretary, Celina Fetty, drummed upon the social aspect of the sport. She counseled us to spare time to mingle with others in the organization. This way, we stand a chance to establish long-lasting friendships. Therefore, she is appealing to our parents to teach us to make the best of each of our runs. Notably, she encouraged us to be great competitors in the arena and friends outside the arena.
Additionally, the secretary mentioned the many scholarships at the disposal of rodeo athletes. These scholarships enable us to further our education. The March 15th banquet best illustrates this merit of the sport. During the event, $27,000 in scholarships was awarded to graduating seniors. Besides, over $100,000 in awards ranging from saddles, buckles, leather purses, Yeti ice chests, and other tack items were issued. As I move on, there is no doubt that I will greatly miss these dedicated elders.
We strongly appreciate our exemplary Region VIII leaders more so our president and secretary for their stewardship. They deserve a standing ovation for their selflessness in volunteering to make rodeo great and preserve the western heritage. Moreover, we jointly thank all the other volunteers, ranchers, and small businesses for their contribution to the sport.
As I embark on my next milestone, I count myself lucky to have learned so much from Region VIII. I would, in all my life, derive great benefit from the lessons of respect, work ethic, and responsibility.
For the years that we have been together, I have put in hard work and great effort to arrive at where I am today. I could not have done this without friends and family members who have encouraged me to keep up the spirit continuously. As I walk out, I am proud of all the accomplishments we have made together over the years.
Good luck to everyone! Continue to strengthen the Region and mentor the best athletes.
“Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I will always miss you all. Thank you all Region VIII members!”