Rodeo Dad

IMG_1871Labels are funny.  Some we embrace and some we avoid.  I find myself resistant to accepting new labels.  I’m cautious about the changes in expectations…expectations of others…and of myself.

As I’ve posted before, I am not a horseman…and definitely not a cowboy.  It’s not that I object to the idea.  It’s that I lack both the skills and the experience.  I like horses.  I enjoy caring for them.  I enjoy riding horseback.  But I shrink back from giving the impression I know about horses, because I know just enough to be very aware of how much I don’t know.

And yet…we own eight horses…and my stepson is a rodeo athlete…

For the last two years I’ve hauled my stepson and his horse to every available roping practice.  I’ve attended numerous rodeo events where I’ve helped ready his horse and cheered him on.

For the last two years I’ve spent as much time in the saddle as I could, trying to learn a little more about this whole horsemanship thing.  And for the past several weeks, I’ve hauled both our horses to weekly roping practices, so I could start to learn a little about this sport my kid is so into.IMG_1870

Yet, I still do not think of myself as a cowboy or even a horseman.  Rodeo is such a cultural thing…usually a multigenerational cultural thing.  And it is not the culture I grew up in.  I love the people.  I’m learning to like the sport.  Yet, I still feel like such an outsider…not that folks aren’t friendly and helpful…they are.  But because I am so aware of how little I know and what a novice I am.

This year we signed our young rodeo athlete up with another rodeo association.  That commits us to attend rodeos almost every weekend for the next nine months…and half of those are doubles…two rodeos in one weekend…an all-day rodeo on Saturday followed by an all-day rodeo on Sunday.

So, now we’ve purchased a living-quarters horse trailer to facilitate all these weekend-long rodeo events.  Basically, that’s a full-sized RV for the family plus horses and equipment.

IMG_1896[1]This weekend it hit me.

I have officially become one of those crazy rodeo people who spends all their free time (and money) camping out to attend rodeos.

Yeah…that’s me.  I am officially a Rodeo Dad.  It’s become a part of who I am.

Still not a cowboy…still not a horseman…but very much a Rodeo Dad.

And…I like that!  🙂


Have you ever picked up a new label that felt uncomfortable at first?


[Linked to Messy Marriage, Wild Flowers, Wellspring, Redeemed Life, Tell His Story ]


26 thoughts on “Rodeo Dad

    • Yes, ‘writer’ is definitely a title I wear very uncomfortably.

      A few weeks ago a friend from high school mentioned a sense of pride in my becoming a writer. I found myself immediately wanting to correct the ‘error’…to explain that I’m not a ‘real’ writer…just an aspiring writer…or maybe a hobbyist writer…

      Something about the mental images tend to make me feel that to be a ‘real writer’ one must actually make a living doing nothing but writing. Silly…but still there…

      Thank you, Andrew!
      joe recently posted…Rodeo DadMy Profile

  1. Motorcycle Mama. I still do not embrace it, but when I told a neighbor about a man that I was engaged to some 30 years ago who rode a Harley, that is what I was called and have had it said over the years. Tim died when he was 30 right before we were to be married. Some people will do anything to get out of marriage. I say that in jest because I know I will see him again some day and if he had lived I’d still be on the back of that Harley, but Motorcycle Mama still would not fit me. We rode a bike, we were not bikers.

    I am so happy to hear that you have this relationship with your son, no step about it. You are a real dad. I love hearing about those. They are far and few in between.

    • “We rode a bike, we were not bikers.”

      I totally get this!

      I ride horses. I am not a horseman. I’m even starting to play around with figuring out how to handle a rope while simultaneously riding a horse…but I am neither a cowboy nor an aspiring cowboy.

      I like this Rodeo Dad label though. It seems to fit without requiring all the explanation. 🙂

      Thank you, Brenda!
      joe recently posted…Rodeo DadMy Profile

  2. I love this window into your life, Joe. What a gift you’re giving your step-son and there’s something about learning something new/mixing with a new crowd, that seems to help me find new ways of experiencing and noticing God. And, I’m with you, on hesitancy around labels – for me, it’s that I don’t want the label to become an idol for my ego. Peace!
    Kelly Chripczuk recently posted…The Marooner’s Stone (#SmallWonder Link-up)My Profile

    • Oh, yes! You are so right, Kelly. When I step outside my comfort zone to try something new, God fully utilizes those experiences to teach me more of Himself.

      In learning a little about developing a relationship between horse and rider, I have found so many parallels to the Christian life. I have blogged about several of them and have several more on the back burner.

      And God’s people always amaze me in fresh ways.

      Just last Sunday, I sat at the rodeo grounds in Hampton, Arkansas, participating in a worship service led by the local Assembly of God church. I feel confident that the folks attending were from a wide variety of church backgrounds, with Baptist probably being predominant. Yet, everyone participated without concern of differing denominations or differing doctrinal perspectives.

      I was truly blessed! I couldn’t help thinking this is how the Body of Christ is supposed to function…in unity as we praise and worship Him.

      Thank you, Kelly!
      joe recently posted…Rodeo DadMy Profile

  3. I found “farm wife” to be a somewhat uncomfortable label when I first married my farmer husband. I didn’t know how to drive a tractor. I didn’t understand the ins and outs of grain marketing. I didn’t enjoy the smell of livestock; the saying “it smells like money” wasn’t amusing to me. I’ve learned a little more about farming over the years, and others have learned that I’m not going to be a stereotypical “farm wife.” I’ve grown comfortable with as you have with “rodeo dad.”

    Thanks for your post, Joe,
    your neighbor at Small Wonder Link Up
    Constance Ann Morrison recently posted…Impossible Bees or The Back StoryMy Profile

    • Yes…though the difference in wording is subtle, I expect the difference in expectations is substantial between being ‘the wife of a farmer’ and being a ‘farm wife.’

      And I can imagine how intimidating that must have been early in your marriage.

      I sort of married into farming, too. My wife grew up rodeoing and has always kept horses. Her parents are beef farmers. So, I had a lot of catching up to do. It took a while just to feel comfortable cranking up a tractor to take care of a chore.

      Thank you, Constance!
      joe recently posted…Rodeo DadMy Profile

    • Hah!

      Well…horses definitely do sense and respond to a rider’s tension. So that could be a factor. However, it could also be the horse selected for you to ride…some are much calmer than others.

      Although…any horse can act out under the wrong circumstances. There’s a saying among horsemen…”If you’ve never been bucked off a horse, then you haven’t ridden enough.”

      Yes, 8 horses…for a household of three riders. I know…it’s a little ridiculous. We each have a primary horse and a back-up horse… plus a small buckskin for the grandkids to ride…plus a colt we recently purchased with the intent of training him ourselves.

      All of which makes it increasingly difficult to explain why I don’t consider myself a horseman…

      Rodeo Dad seems to fit, though! 🙂
      joe recently posted…Rodeo DadMy Profile

  4. Yes, I’ve had new labels thrusted upon me. A new job I really didn’t care for, and now a new ministry in my church I didn’t plan on having. The latter is a bit intimidating, but God is faithful to equip me and bless what I give Him. Have fun!

    • “…God is faithful to equip me and bless what I give Him.”

      Yes! Yes, He is!

      I am confident He will richly bless you in your new area of ministry.

      Thank you, Debbie!
      joe recently posted…Rodeo DadMy Profile

    • My wife and my stepson both make it look easy. When I ride, it feels like a lot more work than it’s supposed to be.

      But I’m still having a lot of fun with it! 🙂

      Thank you, Mary!
      joe recently posted…Rodeo DadMy Profile

    • “I don’t see myself as a photographer yet…but I sure spend a lot of time taking photos.”


      It sounds like ‘teacher’ is for you what ‘Rodeo Dad’ is for me. A way of expressing the specific area of focus and interest without all the accompanying (and unwanted) expectations.

      Thank you, Anita!
      joe recently posted…Rodeo DadMy Profile

  5. Writer is one I really struggle with still.

    Does your step son do tie down or team roping or both? I always joke that in my youth I spent more time on 4 legs than 2. I grew up on the back of horse and at rodeo’s every weekend. My dad was a stock contractor and I loved to compete. Mostly breakaway and team roping but ran barrels and poles too. I loved being a rodeo mom almost as much too.

    So glad you’re getting to spend this time with your family. Enjoy.

    • Yes, ‘writer’ still feels very uncomfortable for me. I’m fine with ‘blogger.’ Even ‘author’ is better than ‘writer.’ It makes no sense, but ‘writer’ brings so many mental images that don’t apply to me…makes me feel like I’m not being completely honest or something…

      My stepson’s two primary events are break-away roping and team roping. He’s still a little hesitant about the tie-down…worries about dismounting while the horse has a calf on the end of the rope…that requires a lot of trust in the horse to do what he’s supposed to without anyone in the saddle.

      He also does some chute-dogging and rough-stock riding. Those scare me, but he likes it.

      That’s pretty cool being a stock contractor’s kid! My stepson loves handling the stock. Anytime he disappears the first place I look for him is with the stock. He likes to volunteer to help move them around.

      Thank you, Laura!
      joe recently posted…Rodeo DadMy Profile

  6. Wow, Joe! You are “all in” on this endeavor and new identity, aren’t you?! That’s what good dads do. And being on the road so much will probably give you lots of stories to share with us back here as well. Can’t wait!

    I think I am still settling in as a “mother-in-law” and feel that bit of confusion as to what I should and should not do. I’m “all in” with my lovely “daughter-in-love” but feel that the distance makes it hard to forge that relationship. I know I am impatient because my own MIL lived so far away and yet she has grown to be so very dear to me. She is “my mom” now that my mother has passed away. Interesting topic, my friend! Good to see you in the linkup too.
    Beth recently posted…Comment on Plank Hunt – My Unforgiving Ways And WW Linkup by Pat And CandyMy Profile

    • Ah, yes! New familial relationships…those take a while to settle into, don’t they?

      It took me a while to grow into feeling comfortable with my role as Step-Dad. And I still, sometimes, hit issues of feeling totally inadequate. There was never any doubt that I was all in. The issue was in figuring out my role in their lives. It’s just like parenting except completely different… 😉

      With four children of my own, parenting was nothing new. And I had loved and been involved with Sherri’s boys for several years before becoming their stepfather. But becoming part of the same family, living in the same household, changes expectations and adds new stress risers.

      I can encourage you that these relationships get easier and more comfortable with time.

      Blessings to you, my friend!
      joe recently posted…Rodeo DadMy Profile

  7. You sound like an authentic rodeo dad to me, Joe. 🙂 It is funny how our kids’ interests can change how the world sees us too. I was pointed out last week as, “Oh, that’s Jenna’s mom!” I’ll take it.

    • Yep. Rodeo Dad fits…and feels right.

      It also provides a good excuse for all the time spent with horses and various equine events without having to go too deep in explaining my status as “not a horseman.” 🙂

      Thank you, Lisa!
      joe recently posted…Rodeo DadMy Profile

  8. I love this!!! You are an AMAZING Rodeo dad and Husband. You have fit in and embraced this lifestyle really well. I couldn’t ask for a better step-dad for our son!

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