by Brie Leonard
Rodeo is a game of chance; you never know if you will get paid or not. You just hope that your best is good enough to see yourself at the pay window and have enough to move on to the next one. When rodeo winnings is how you make a living, every check you win is important. If you were to ask any Cowboy or Cowgirl who competes ¾ of the rodeo year, they will tell you that it is not always “rainbows and butterflies”, there are ups and downs for even the best of them. How you react to the good and the bad of rodeo, has a profound impact on your outcome.
I was able to sit down with PRCA Tie-Down Roper, and American 2018 qualifier, Marshall Leonard and ask him what it’s like going through the hills and valleys and what he does to prepare himself for each stage.
Q: How do you mentally prepare yourself when going through a rough patch?
A: I try to stick to the basics, and simplify my job. When you find yourself not winning checks often, you sometimes find yourself forcing throws, and when “forcing” comes into play, it is that much harder to win, in my opinion.
Q: You making it to the Shoot-Out Round at “The American” 2018, how did you stay focused when you knew you were roping for $1.1MILLION dollars?
A: To me, that run was no different than any other practice run. Yes, it was for a lot more money than any practice run, but I knew I still had to go out there and make the run I knew how to do. I tried not to focus on the amount of money that was up for grabs.
Q: What has been your BEST career win thus far?
A: I think my best career win to date would have to be, winning Casper, WY PRCA Rodeo back to back, in years 2013 & 2014. Winning it 2 years in a row makes me the only tie-down roper to ever win it 2 years in a row. That is pretty special to me.
Q: What has been your lowest point in your roping career? Why?
A: I would say Rodeo year 2015 was probably my lowest point in my career. My horse “Gen” was crippled, and I didn’t have anything else to ride at the time. I was fighting my head on whether or not I was good enough to be out there on the road competing.
Q: How did you overcome your lowest point in your career?
A: I came home off the road to regroup for a few months and took some time off from roping, went back to contracting houses with my father, and in my time off, I was blessed with a baby boy named “Nash”, and purchased my mare, “CAT.”
Q: Would you say having a support system is important?
A: Yes. Your support system is the most important in my eyes. Whether it be made up of only friends, only family, or both… having a good backing and encouragement is crucial for success. When you start to feel down, there are people there to pick you back up and keep pushing you.