There’s a reason why the rodeo athletes who make it to the top are the best of the best. In order to achieve WNFR greatness, there’s years and years of preparation that goes mostly unseen by the public. Being a rodeo athlete is not just physical, it’s a mental mind game. Here are some of the best quotes from the biggest stars in rodeo that will give you insight into the mind of a winner.
“You have to have confidence, and it’s easy to lose it when you aren’t winning. You forget that it’s a yearlong contest and you give up. That was me. They beat me down and I never got up again. It took me that long to learn to stay up, fix the problem and go on. You lose more than you win, I promise you. I’m not saying when you go out there and miss you need to smile. It needs to bother you. But you need to learn from it, get over it and go on, because it’s over and you can’t get it back.” 9-time WNFR qualifier Travis Graves
“Al Bach put it into the best perspective for me,” he said. “The four seasons in rodeo are just like four quarters in a basketball game. Michael Jordan didn’t have four perfect quarters, but by the time all four quarters were said and done he had the most points and was the best player. I rope now like I’m going to make it, and stay on more of an even keel. I also know they can have it (the NFR) without me. That’s why I rope all day every day and spend all my spare time looking for horses. I never take making the Finals for granted.” 9-time WNFR qualifier, 3-time World Champion Heeler Jade Corkill
“I definitely do hold myself to a little different standard than probably about everybody else that’s going down the road holds themselves to.” 4-time WNFR qualifier, 4-time World Champion Bull Rider Sage Kimzey
“It takes a lot of different things to make it, but the most important thing is to have a goal. Starting at the beginning of the year, have a goal and a plan. When I’m under pressure, safety up is not in my vocabulary, so I really just go for it.” 2-time WNFR qualifier, 1-time World Champion Barrel Racer Nellie Miller
“The thing about rodeo is you have to be confident — and if you aren’t confident, it doesn’t matter how much you win. We are confident in each other.” 14-time WNFR qualifier, 1-time World Champion Heeler Cory Petska
“If you are prepared during the week, you’ll be prepared on the weekend. You have to be ready… both mentally and physically ready. You can never stop learning. When you think you’re at the top, you are in trouble.” 4-time WNFR qualifier, -2-time World Champion Bareback Rider Tim O’Connell