By BRAD KEITH
Flash Sports Editorial
STEPHENVILLE (September, 24, 2015) — I admit, for me, take one at the 2015 Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo was a disappointment.
There I was, 9 a.m. sharp on Thursday, front row, Lone Star Arena, all ready to video 21-time world champion Trevor Brazile opening up the steer roping with the first ride of the 2015 Cowboy Capital rodeo.
What a great way to kick off the event.
I point the camera, and as soon as I spy movement in the chute I suck in my breath and try to stay as still and steady as possible while tapping record. Then, the dreaded words.
“We have a turn out,” echoed the voice of the great Ben Clements.
“What?” I immediately thought out loud. “Turn out?”
I had just scheduled my morning around being there to see the legendary Brazile open the rodeo. My morning plans were shot. So much for the perfect beginning to our rodeo coverage.
Moving forward with my day, Flash President and Publisher Jessie Horton and myself saw to it the rest of our Flash Football Weekly tabloids were distributed, then we set to updating the website and handling some of those dreaded “administrative duties” in time to return to Lone Star.
It was 4 o’clock, and didn’t somebody say something about some high school kids competing for scholarship money?
Back to the arena I went, trusty cameras and laptop in tow.
And then I was given a stark reminder that rodeos aren’t just about world champions and National Finals qualifiers.
Because a young lady with fire-red hair and a smile beaming from ear-to-ear was soon to remind me it’s about so much more.
Heidy Sieperda has rodeoed since she was two years old. She learned to rodeo from a mother who rodeoed, an aunt who rodeoed, a grandmother who rodeoed and siblings and cousins who rodeo. Everywhere the girl looks, rodeo.
Sieperda isn’t a world champion or an NFR qualifier. She isn’t a professional athlete at all, in fact.
Sieperda is a junior at Stephenville High School who loves to rodeo because it’s part of her heritage. She rodeo’s because it’s in her blood.
On this day, Sieperda, a Region X high school star, was competing in a one-on-one shootout against a Region III star in pole bending.
Riding her trusted mare Sassy, 9, Sieperda was fastest through the poles, earning a $1,000 scholarship from the Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo committee.
The smile couldn’t be wiped from Sieperda’s face. She talked about getting to play a small part in the Stephenville rodeo the way Travis Woodard speaks of qualifying for his first NFR as a team roper.
For Sieperda, this was the ultimate victory. This was her championship. Thursday was her day.
It was my day, too. My day to stop and remind myself that this weekend isn’t just about Marty Yates and Tuff Cooper, Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill, Bobby Mote and Richmond Champion, Jacobs and Sterling Crawley.
It’s about all the other guys and gals, too. It’s about the weekend warriors, the guys who have day jobs and rodeo because they love it.
Sure, the rodeo is about Trevor Brazile, and I still think the legendary king of cowboys owes me a good video.
But the rodeo is also about Heidy Sieperda.
When you realize that, you can see what really makes this sport special.
And why this really is the Cowboy Capital of the World.