May as well update this thread:
It was an enjoyable 11 days, and also the longest I've ever been away from the farm. I'm also counting it as my first vacation, so I guess I can't say I've never been on a vacation any more.
We spent an obscene amount of money. I know you can't take it with you, but I did want to hold it a little longer. I've made my piece with it. The thing was possibly a once in a lifetime chance, and we took it.
I never make, nor accept excuses. Competition wise, we had a terrible finals. I've got to Give credit to the NJHSRA for finding so many good head of roping stock. The cattle were perfectly matched to the age of the kids to, I think we broke every barrier we got behind. Kids were charged up, horses were charged up. It was the perfect storm, and we got caught in it. I knew the roping events were our only hope, because 19 second pole times seemed to be the norm. We didn't make it back to the short round in anything. It was however good for my kids to see the top 20 in every event run. Consistency had been the key to our success getting there, and at the big show consistency is out the door. You've got to be fast, there were 27 second totals on 3 head in calf roping. They have both committed to changing the way the practice. Not necessarily more practice, but to practice with speed in mind.
My son got to spend about half of one day with Fred Whitfield in a clinic. He reinforced the way I feel. Practice like your going to play, and spend more time roping a hay bale, and tying a dummy. Tie off of a post every opportunity you get. Cattle ain't free, but time and effort are.
A man has the opportunity to do many things in his lifetime, that are to be ashamed of, and just a sprinklin of things worth taken pride in. I've wasted years, and wasted opportunities, but I'm proud of my kids, and what they do. It's something we do together, and we'll always have that in common.
I tip my hat to these two, for many years of hard work and effort. May they grow up to be as honest as the horses they ride: