Throwback to Rookie Chuckwagon Year with the NWSPCCA in 2009, where it all began…
As I climb into the wagon box, the whole world just seems to disappear. My worries float away and my senses grow stronger. I grab the leather lines the same way I have a thousand times before and say “alright”.
Pulling away from the trailer, aluminum horseshoes pound the ground and grow to a thunderous roar as I speed up. I head towards the track, and my heart begins to pound as I hear the horn blow from the previous heat. Then everything around me disappears, and the only things on my mind are my horses and the race. As I roll onto the track, there is stillness.
I try to avoid looking at the crowd and focus on the barrels in front of me. I try to avoid thinking about a lot of things, like my heart thumping out of my chest, the announcer going on and on, the sound of the horses stirring on the track in front of me and, most importantly, behind me.
“…everything around me disappears, and the only things on my mind are my horses and the race.”
In the back of my mind there are a million thoughts of what could go wrong, but as long as they stay in the back of my mind I know I’ll be just fine. I can smell the familiar sweat of the horses and hear the jingling of the harness as I make my final turn toward the barrels and the crowd goes silent. With four horses jerking against the taut lines, I pull to a slow stop. The horses are getting antsy and I’m sure you could hear a pin drop in the grandstand.
The horn blows, shattering the silence, and the horses charge toward the top barrel as I pull line to make the difficult turn – it could save me a few seconds in the end. Narrowly avoiding the barrels, I make a swift, figure-eight turn between them and roll around the first corner, leaving my opponents in the dust.
The winds whips through my hair as the wagon reaches full speed. Now there is just me, my horses, and the finish line. This is where I know I belong.