And Then There Was One
by Melinda Clements#13 Shoot-Out 2013 USTRC National Champions
It takes a certain kind of fortitude and guts to keep trying over and over the same old thing day after day trying to make things happen. It takes commitment, disciple, will power and dedication to keep working, to keep pushing yourself beyond what you know you can do. We rope because we love the sport, the fellowship, the challenge and the lifestyle. Of course, we rope to win but how many of us just rope to rope?
You have to ask yourself how many ropings you would haul to knowing full well you might not win, you may not make the short go round and you probably won’t have much to show for all your hard work, dedication and commitment to the sport. Would you give up? Would you quit? Is it worth it?
Sam Livingston and Calvin Taylor are good friends. They have been roping together for a long, long time maybe some ten years or more. They don’t expect to win every time. Perhaps they don’t expect to win at all. Perhaps that is why the #13 Shoot-Out at the 2013 Cinch USTRC National Finals of Team Roping was such a phenomenal roping.
“I think we have paid our dues,” Sam Livingston said. “We have roped everywhere from Maine to Maui. This is probably the second time I’ve ever even made a short round at the Finals in the last eight years. We’ve been coming for a long time and you just keeping pushing and trying to make it happen.”
Livingston and Taylor was the second high team back going into the short go round of the #13 Shoot-Out. A little less than one second separated the top four teams in the short round. There was a lot on the line as the #13 Shoot-Out wound down. $97,100 was a lot of money. Add to that scenario Martin Championship Trophy saddles, Tony Lama boots, Gist Championship Gold Trophy buckles and Western Horseman collectors prints and you had a recipe for a bad case of nerves.
Despite obstacles and struggles the pair was committed and excited about being in the short go round. Taylor had more than his share of struggles going into the roping. His trip to OKC involved two breakdowns, one on the truck and one on the trailer, a lot of frustration and at one point he had about had enough.
“I was so frazzled and frustrated by the trip alone that I wondered if it was even worth messing with,” he explained. “I did not even catch one steer on Saturday and Sunday was a bit better but not a lot. I was just about ready to throw up my hands.”
The #13 Shoot-Out was tough and highly competitive. Every single roper in the short go round had a win on his mind. You could not ignore the pay out and prizes and it was a rip roaring short go round with every team focused and on track.
When it came time for Livingston and Taylor to rope they knew exactly what had to be done. They needed a time of 8.98 on their short round steer to take the lead in the average. It was doable since that was just a good solid “know how to do it” practice run.
“It was stressful,” Livingston said. “I was a nervous wreck. I couldn’t breathe and I didn’t know what to do about except just go rope.”
“I wanted things to slow down,” Taylor commented. “I wanted to pause and think and remember basics.” The pair posted a time of 8.06 on their final steer and it was enough to move them into the first place slot with only one team left to rope. That last team, however, was a pair of young guns and they were loaded for bear and committed to taking the win. Talk about pressure!
The youngsters, Zachary and Blair Small, needed an 8.34 to move Taylor and Livingston. Nerves were red hot and the tension in the coliseum was almost debilitating.
The pair roped well and rose heroically to the pressure. However, a time of 9.87 moved them to fourth place. Taylor and Livingston could not quite grasp what had happened. They had just won the #13 Shoot-Out at the 2013 USTRC National Finals of Team Roping. It suddenly dawned on them paying your dues does reap certain rewards if you can hang on long enough.
“Wow!” Livingston said as he stared emotionally at his new Martin Championship Trophy saddle. “This is the biggest thing I’ve ever won. I just thought I couldn’t breathe earlier. In eight years this is my second time in a short go round. I cannot believe it!”
“I couldn’t catch all week,” Taylor said. “Sam has roped well but I was letting the start of the week clutter my mind. I needed to get some cattle caught. It was such a crazy start with one obstacle after another one. I cannot believe it turned out like this. I don’t know what to say! This is my biggest check ever! We are so blessed and so appreciative of all the USTRC does, the format, the roping and the people who put it together.”
Emotion was everywhere as the prizes were awarded, interviews conducted and pictures taken. Team roping instills in all of us to keep trying, to keep plodding along, to face difficulties, struggles and hardships and to keep getting up and starting over and over again.
Sam Livingston and Calvin Taylor are proof that you “keep on keeping on” to make your dreams come true. When the dust cleared one team had persevered And Then There Was One-Sam Livingston and Calvin Taylor—the Champions of the #13 Shoot-Out at the 2013 Cinch National Finals of Team Roping.