Notes From The Tailgate


Boy, the self-adulation sure gets rolling on the old Facebook machine on Monday mornings, doesn’t it? Every barrel racer in Texas wants to share her weekend. How that news is shared says a lot about the person. Some posts are humble and grateful, some are anything but.

I remember my grandfather telling me, “Don’t toot your own horn, cowgirl.”

I must have been about six years old and I probably have remembered it all these years because my little-girl mind took it quite literally. I looked down at my saddle horn thinking “I didn’t know it did that. I wonder how you make it work? Do you squeeze it or blow in it or what?”

I clearly missed his meaning, but the words left an impression that has kept me pondering his statement long after he died.

Remember, girls, the glory belongs to God and ponies. The sweat you invest in your animals and your sport will speak louder than any toot you could blow on your social media horn, and no amount of Tweets or posts can cover up for the sweat you didn’t invest-it’s as plain as the nose on your face. Remember the consequences of hubris in the Greek tragedies and don’t temp the barrel racing Fates to turn on you.

Your worth as a human has nothing to do with the quality of your last run. You will not be prettier or more popular, nor a better person when you finally clock that horse in the 1D. It is the grace, diligence and determination that you comport yourself with in the process that counts. The little choices this sport forces you to make every day are what builds you into a better human…or lets you be come a sallow, shallow shell. Be the lady your grandmother taught you to be, work hard, make sacrifices for others and winning will happen along the way.

The girls who win year and year out and every fall bring in a nice set of young horses to start the process all over again all share something in common in their attitudes. They are humble. They are confident. They take the ups and downs in stride with equal acceptance and go on and saddle their next horse. You never see them tooting their own horn…everyone already knows who they are.

My grandfather, Jack Love, with my aunt in a cow camp just after World War II.


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