by C.J. Aragon

article by C.J. Aragon,
Odessa College Rodeo Coach

WEB_IMG_2618Rodeo is the ultimate accountability sport. The principle of accountability in rodeo is very simple you are responsible for your results. If you are winning you are responsible, if you are losing you are still responsible. Rodeo is a sport where your performance dictates your accountability. Pretty simple concept for most to understand.
With many however it seems to be easier to defer accountability and use excuses. Here are just a few that I hear often.

“I drew badly and didn’t win.”
“The ground was terrible.”
“The judges don’t like me.”
“My horse didn’t work.

There are many more I could add to the list but these are some of the most popular. For those who use them I have some simple responses…
The draw is the same for everyone, everyone will draw good at times and bad at times. Sure, you will not always draw an animal that you can win on, but you can do your part to make the best possible run or ride on what you have drawn. If you find yourself using the draw as an excuse repeatedly, maybe you are not prepared and need to hold yourself accountable.
For those who complain about the ground, chances are if it was bad for you it was bad for others as well. The winners likely found ways to work around the ground conditions. Don’t let this be a constant excuse or start entering places where the conditions favor you.
If the judges don’t like you find out why. Is it your attitude towards them? Is it something you say or do? Is it the level or respect you show the judges? Could it simply be they see your riding differently than you do? You can’t control the judges, however you can control your actions in and out of the arena which may help you with the judges in the future. Be accountable and act professional and chances are you will see a difference.
Your horses didn’t work at the rodeo? If this is a regular excuse you need to use maybe you should find someone who can help you with your horsemanship skills. Be accountable and improve your skills.
Accountability is one of the building blocks of a successful athlete. In rodeo this is especially true, you are solely accountable for your actions in and out of the arena. (You can blame your partner in the team roping, but who made the decision to enter with them?) Those who embrace accountability and use it as a tool to get better will excel in all areas.
As a coach I remind students that they are accountable in many areas of their life. Students are accountable for their grades. As athletes they are responsible for their performance in the arena and the practice pen. In reality you are accountable for everything you have control over in your life.
Rodeo is not like many other sports, you have no teammates that can cover a bad performance. You are truly accountable for your actions and decisions. You either embrace accountability or make excuses, accountability leads to progress, and excuses lead to the need for more excuses in the future.
Embrace accountability and you will be on your way to success.

C.J. Aragon was named the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Grand Canyon Region Coach-of-the-Year. 2014, 2015 WJCAC Coach-of-the-Year and 2010 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Coach-of-the-Year.

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