If you listen to The Ride podcast, then you’ve probably heard the bonus episode explaining what The American is and how you can follow along on my journey. If you haven’t heard the episode, you can listen to it here!
This past Sunday I made the trip to Fort Worth to run at a barrel race in the Fort Worth Stockyards, so I could make a few practice runs in Cowtown Coliseum before The American semi-finals. I will be making a couple more practice runs this weekend at Cowtown and will compete on Monday, February 24 at draw number 197 out of 245 in the semi-finals slack. For those who are unfamiliar with the term slack, slack for the semi-finals is where all of the competitors compete and then the top 40 will continue on to the semi-finals performances that occur the 26 through the 29.
This race will have 245 of the best barrel racers and fastest horses in the country, but it will all dwindle down to the top 10 of the group that will be moving on to AT&T Stadium for The American. It won’t be easy to do so, either. Cowtown Coliseum is a tough arena for some barrel-racing horses to compete in—the alley is long and dark, the first barrel can’t be seen until you’re in the arena, and the arena is extremely small. A lot of the horses and riders will make it look easy because of their training and talent, but it’s not as easy as it seems.
So how could I prepare for something that seems as daunting as what I just described? Well, I have faith in my horse. My horse was talented enough to qualify amongst the best of the best, therefore, I know she is capable of holding the key to my “American Dream.” Now, being able to come down to Texas and make a few runs also helped to boost my confidence—my mare did exceptionally well for her first time in a setup like Cowtown Coliseum.
Having practice allowed for me to develop a mental game plan. Every run I make I try to have someone video, and I was able to have my practice runs on video to evaluate what I did and what I need to keep doing to make solid, consistent runs. However, the key component to my mental game plan remains the same no matter where I’m running, and that’s to have fun. After qualifying for The American, I wrote a blog called “Not Being Competitive is What Helps Me Win” and it’s essentially my mental playbook for competing. I’m not a very competitive person. I love to win, but more than anything I love having a healthy, talented horse that allows me to have fun every time I run. So, no matter the outcome I’m ecstatic to have come this far and have fun while doing it.
Watch The American Semi-Finals Barrel Racing Slack here!
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