I grew up in a rodeo family, my dad’s passion was team roping, and my grandpa’s allegiance to the sport can be seen on his wall of accolades. I have been on a horse since I have been able to walk and swinging a rope shortly after. My parent’s got a divorce shortly after my fifth birthday allowing me to spend every other weekend as well as all summer with my father. My time in the rural town of Ismay, population 20, usually consisted of usual ranch work followed by team roping each night. As a kid, I was always a fairly natural team roper, but only remaining around it for three months out of the year hindered my success in the sport.
I moved in with my father just prior to my sophomore year of high school. Throughout the three years I spent living in eastern Montana team roping was a weekend hobby, my main focus was basketball. Instead of hours in the arena, I spent hours in the gym. I did everything within my power to succeed in the sport, and it worked. Directly after completing my senior basketball season I received an offer to play for the University of Montana – Western. After completing a year of Bulldog basketball and in need of credits to fill my general requirements, I enrolled in a class instructed by rodeo coach, Ollie Else. She informed me of what her program had to offer, in turn causing me to hang up my basketball shoes and strap on my boots, I joined the rodeo team.
Rather than only participating in team roping I decided to dive head first into tie down roping, an event many claim to be among the most difficult rodeo. In order to succeed one must give the calf a head start, rope him around the neck, dismount your horse during his stop, run down the rope flank the calf, and tie three feet together as fast as possible. For two weeks, I spent hours in the arena converting my team roping horse, Bucknasty, into a calf horse. I had high hopes going into my first season of college rodeo and had full intentions of qualifying for the College National Rodeo Finals. The first run of my calf roping career was in Miles City, I came out and threw my rope straight into the dirt; I wasn’t even close. My second attempt came the next week in Dillon. This time I quickly caught the calf, but things went south shortly after. When going to flank the calf I tripped and ended up on my back with the calf on top of me, and when all was said and done I had gone over the 25 second time limit and lost a large amount of pride in the process. To say the least it was not the particular showing I wanted in front of my hometown fans.
With the fall season in the books I was convinced that my lack of horse power was the true encumbrance to my success. Directly before the first spring rodeo my grandpa sent up his good horse Tuffy. My inclination was wrong, after five spring rodeos I finished my sophomore season with a solid zero points in the calf roping and even managed to tie for last place in the year end standings. Although the season could not have possibly gone much worse, I was more determined than ever.
That summer I came back to baker to work for TNT Diversified an oilfield maintenance company. It was a rigorous/time consuming job, and was not uncommon to put in a 60 hour work week. However, no matter how long the day I would speed the thirty miles home to get into the arena. There was hardly a night that I got in the house before dark; I spent hours roping, tying, and training. If there was no one to help, I would practice by myself. I put in the work, this time I was ready.
My second season of rodeo was slightly more successful than the first. After finishing with zero points in the fall, I was able to place third in both Great Falls and Glendive, in route to finishing the season out with just over 200 points. This landed me in the 14th spot, although 14th was an improvement; it was far from reaching the College National Finals. I have never been one to accept failure, and failing for the second straight season was the motivation I needed to send me to the top. That summer I put even more time and effort in the practice pen, and set to the road travelling throughout Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota in order to gain experience competing against top competition.
I went into my third season of college rodeo with full confidence I knew there was no one in the region who had matched the time and effort that I put into the sport that summer. I nodded my head to begin the season and took second place in Cody. Two weeks later I had the best run of my life, in route to another second place finish in Miles City. Dillon was next; I placed second in both rounds and the average finishing the fall season in first place. I could feel my hard work finally paying off and the success rolled along through the spring season. I won the first Bozeman rodeo and took fourth in the second. I came into the final rodeo of the season just 50 points out of first place. I was able to overcome the pressure and come out on top of the field; I won the rodeo, and the Big Sky Region. I can still remember the awards ceremony, Del Nose the region director handed me my championship buckle with the words of, “I don’t know where the #### you came from, but good job.” There was not a coach in the region that failed to compliment me on the time and commitment I had placed forth that season.
My calf roping career tells the story of my life. I never let my failures overcome me; instead, allow them to further drive me towards my goals. Success, is not given, it is earned. You’ll have applicants with stronger LSAT scores than me, stronger overall profiles; however, few will have my drive to succeed. Some will have better numbers than me now, but none the dedication, determination, and perseverance that have been proven to reside within me. I have faced challenges throughout the past 23 years. I was cut from the Billings West basketball team as a freshman, just three years later I accepted a college basketball offer. Double majoring in business administration and global politics was both time-consuming and difficult; however, I put in the effort and will be graduating college this May with a GPA just south of 3.98. I had never roped a calf, three years later I’m a region champion and a college national finalist. I take challenges head on and through a lifetime of experiences I’m equipped with the tools needed to overcome them. I look forward to the opportunity to unleash these tools at insert school.
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