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Recalling Cowboy

The red phone rang at the fire station with orders from the Fire Chief’s office. A tractor trailer had overturned on interstate 95 and cattle had escaped and were running on the highway and throughout the nearby neighborhoods. The State Police had requested that Lewis “Cowboy” Tunstall respond to round up the cattle.

Cowboy Tunstall was a Lieutenant in our department. He was a farrier on his day off and he was a rodeo cowboy. His rodeo event was steer roping. His rodeo partner was his beloved horse Stormy who Cowboy had raised from a colt. Cowboy loved to talk about Stormy. He said that Stormy was the smartest and most loyal friend that any man could ever have. Stormy enjoyed working and he performed without directions or words from Cowboy. His timing was perfect on the start rope and he always took the correct line to the steer. Stormy required Cowboy’s best in the arena and Cowboy said that he could feel the power, desire and the will to perform through the saddle. Cowboy told me many times that Stormy didn’t have bad days, you better be ready and hold on and that no amount of money could buy that horse. They were pals.

I loved the photo in Cowboy’s home of Cowboy and Stormy performing at a rodeo. It captured a high performance team in action. In the photo, Cowboy had thrown his rope and was coming out of the saddle. His right hand was on the rope and Stormy had applied the brakes so hard that his hind end was on the ground and all four hoofs were kicking up dirt.  All eyes are focused on the steer.

Cowboy requested a leave of absence from the department to pursue his dream of competing on the national rodeo circuit. During the meeting with the new Fire Chief, Cowboy told the Chief that he was rated seventh in the nation in steer roping and that we wanted to compete on the national circuit before he was too old to do so. The Fire Chief approved his leave and added “by the way, as of this morning you are ranked sixth in the nation, good luck, now go and win.”

The competitive nature, teamwork, brotherhood and the will to win are powerful.

How much ready is in your ready? Can you feel it in the saddle?

Roping a chair again and again fine tunes the throw. Each steer is different, yet the same. None of them will wait for you.

Are your partners glad to see you? Do they run to see you? How green is your pasture?

How is your timing on the start rope? How good on the line? Can you see the target or are you just along for the ride?

Your partner wants to win. You best be on your game and hold on. No money can buy that – it’s called heart.

Display photos of your high performance team. Other teams will notice excellence, they want it, they will seek it and they will tire of losing.

What is your team ranking today? Who displays the championship belt and buckle?

Are you a loyal partner? Does your pal know you? How much win do you bring to the arena? How much win do you expect?

Do you rope until you get it right, or until you can’t get it wrong?

Are you kicking up dirt or just dragging behind?

What’s your dream?

Good luck. Now go out and win.

Thanks for reading and sharing with other pals.

Have a great day – it’s a GREAT day for it.

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