Our family is back from the anual South Carolina High School Rodeo State Finals, and still recovering. Every year, on Memorial Day weekend, the family spends 4 to 5 days competing and working the State Finals. Dad is on the Board of Directors and Katie would compete in high school, which was then passed on down to Jini who now competes in the Junior division. It is an “all-in” team effort by our family as we travel together and cheer on one another.
Unfortunately this year, we lost one of our own during the weekend. Mr Eddie had become one of my Dad’s closest friends and another grandfather to us girls, especially Katie and Jini. Mr Eddie was a true cowboy who took the time to really teach the kids the sport of rodeo, and how to behave outside the arena. He cheered on every kid and offered advice to help improve each performance. He was a family man who treated us like his grandkids, always giving a hug and a kiss on the cheek every time he saw us. Each time, no matter how many times a day, he would give you a hug, a kiss on the cheek, and then say “I love you sweetheart”. I never competed in the rodeo, but he always made me feel apart of it. I will never forget the night he passed away, sitting in the stands and guessing the barrel racing times; we laughed at how right he was every time, and how well he knew those kids and their horses. He was someone our entire family loved and respected, and will miss him each day. He left a lasting impression and will always be remembered for the impact he had on all involved in the rodeo family.
We were so proud of Jini and all of her hard work throughout the season. In the first competition, she fell off her horse as exiting the arena during her pole pattern, but then got right back on her horse to finish the rodeo. The next day, she fell off again, but still managed to get back on and finish. Jini showed just how tough and resilient she was, that the saddle bronc cowboys took on the motto, “Ride it in like Jini” on the final night of competition. Dad did a great job directing the arena and helping throughout the rodeo, alongside Katie and Mags. Jini placed in the top ten in two of her events and looks forward to competing in all of the events next year as she works for “All-around Cowgirl”
The family spent Memorial Day resting from the weekend and unpacking everything. Katie came home with us to attend Mr Eddie’s funeral, but we also were able to spend some more time with her before she leaves.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend! While it is the time to kick off summer, its the day to remember all those who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms we enjoy today. Thank you to each and every one of you!