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More than Just a Sport

Posted by Shauna McNaughton 7/18/2017

Summer is in full swing and that means fishing at the lake, sizzling by the swimming pool and countless community events to celebrate. Along with these, and endless other summer activities, rodeos hold a particularly special place in the hearts of North Dakotans. Travel throughout the state during the summer months and you will find a herd of cowboys, cowgirls, rodeo announcers, bull fighters, stock contractors, rodeo queens and others heading down the road in search of their spot at fame. The sport of rodeo is woven into the fabric of the west and into the heart of North Dakota.

Whether it is the cowboy nodding his head in the box or the small child hanging on during the mutton bustin’, rodeo has a way of including everyone in the community for a fun-filled family-orientated event. Having grown up and participated in rodeo throughout my life, I can vouch for the incredible opportunities it gives. The feeling you get when you successfully make a goat tying get off or a smoking run in the barrels is beyond what words can describe. Rodeo is unique because even though all the contestants are competing against each other, they still treat each other like family. Whether that is supporting each other, helping each other in the bucking chute or simply saying “Good run” on the way out of the area, the comradery spirit never leaves. 

Like other sports, rodeo is great for teaching life lessons, such as the power of perseverance and good work ethic, that go beyond just the arena. However, some of the best lessons that are learned are often much harder to see and usually occur when the cowboy hits the ground or the barrel tips over. After all, the greatest measure of a person is not how they act when they are on top of the world, but how they act when they are losing it. Rodeo teaches how to be humble and congratulate those that have won even when the sting of disappointment is fresh. The ability to shake things off and try again or admit when something went wrong and change it is beyond valuable in the arena and in life. Knowing when times are bad gives appreciation for when they are good.

Rodeo is more than just a sport, it is a way of life that has been passed down from generation to generation. Travel to any small town, amateur or pro rodeo, and those same words will be repeated. Whether it’s backing into the box or cheering from the crowd, there is nothing more enjoyable than stepping into the timeless arena of a rodeo.

Photo Credit: Annika Plummer

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