News from the Secretary

News from the Secretary
Been Throw'd

If you got "throw'd" by anything in 2005, the start of a new year is a perfect time to try again.

The fact that an effort failed last year, doesn't mean it will fail this year. We may have to change our grip, but it never means we are certain to be thrown on the next try.

The best cowboys get thrown. My dad always said he was thrown only four times in this life and twice by the same horse. That horse never did get gentle, but he was always a great horse.

In this part of the country, it is no big deal to be thrown, but it is a "big deal" to give up. That's why rodeo cowboys get back on after being thrown, sometimes with serious injuries.

Jeff Willert, the 23-year-old saddle bronc world champion, from Belvidere, might not be a household name yet, but he is a prime example of the cowboy spirit that never gives up.

In 2003, Jeff was thrown by a horse that kicked him in the head and left him blind in one eye. That event may have put a damper on 2003, but it did not stop him from becoming bronc riding world champion in 2005.

Many rodeo cowboys continue to ride after serious injuries just to finish the competition. That might seem foolish to some people who don't understand the importance of trying.

Riders may "know" in their heads they can't ride that bad bull or bad horse, but in their hearts they believe a greater importance lies in giving it their best shot.

Rodeo is a unique sport. The competitors don't act like normal competitors. They work and play together, and they help each other during competition.

A rodeo cowboy competes with himself. His challenge is to improve himself. The same animal might have thrown him on previous rides, but he believes he can do it this time and must try.

One thing is certain; people who don't have that kind of belief system will never ride the eliminator bronc. A champion will get that done.

When a champion does well he says, "Ah, I just got lucky." He never brags.

Life gives everyone a throw of one kind or another. The important thing is getting back into the fray. The real contest is within the person, not on the animal. Jeffery Willert is a real South Dakota hero.

Conquest does not make a hero. A hero is someone we can emulate when we have been throw'd and feel like giving up.

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