Written by blog contributor, Kellie Knapp.
What does that word mean to you? Have you experienced it? Are you in the middle of persevering right now?
I have always known what perseverance meant. Heck, I persevered through my undergraduate and graduate degrees. But up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t truly know what perseverance meant. So often in my life I spent the time and effort to start new projects. If my heart wasn’t in it, I gave up. If I didn’t believe I could do it, I gave up. If it was taking an exceptionally long time and there was not a timeline with an end date, I gave up. But there has been one person in my life that I have always admired. Let me re-phrase that. Growing up I did NOT admire him. He smelled funny, he was mean to me, he teased me, and on several occasions, I’m pretty sure, he tried pushing me down our stairs. What I admire about my younger brother now is his perseverance. If anyone has persevered, it has been Scottie.
It started the week of his 3rd birthday. We were in Arizona with our father, visiting our grandparents. We all went to the stock show and somehow, someway, Scottie was signed up to ride his first sheep. When we went back home to New Mexico, he continued to ride sheep, falling in love with rodeo. As he got older Scottie moved up to riding calves, then steers, then junior bulls, eventually graduating from junior bulls to regular bulls. All the while he would watch professional bull riders at the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) and PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association), memorizing every bull’s twist, turn, and buck. Scottie promised our family at a very young age that, he too, would be riding in the PBR and PRCA one day. At the ripe age of 3 years old I don’t think he knew he would have to wait till he was 18 years old to “go pro”.
Scottie was one of those kids that poured his heart into his passion. If he could convince a family member to get on all fours and “buck like a bull” he would dig his heels into their sides and “practice” until they were good and worn out. If there was any amount of time in which he could practice, he would. Whether it be on an imaginary bull or studying the technique of other riders.
As he became a pre-teen, Scottie started becoming interested in skateboarding and spent a lot of time at skate parks. I worried he would fall into the wrong crowd and would give up on rodeo. But no, he stuck to it and continued to carry out his plans.
Through injuries and setbacks, Scottie has never given in, given up, or walked away. He refigured his plan. He laid out a new map. He continued to persevere. It all pays off one day. From December 1st through December 10th Scottie was in Las Vegas, Nevada riding in the National Finals Rodeo, THE NFR. This is basically the Olympics of the rodeo world folks. These are the best of the best competitors from around the world. I was able to watch my brother ride in the NFR, like he’s been telling me he would for 22 years. The second night at the NFR Scottie ended up with a dislocated shoulder (which he has had surgery on in the past), a concussion, and 6 stitches above his eye. We thought he was done for the rest of the NFR. We were wrong. He got on the next night and the next night. He wound up getting another round of 6 stitches above the other 6 stitches. But guess what, he got right back on the next night.
22 YEARS. 22 years he had been telling all of us that he was going to be in that arena, riding bulls in the NFR, and he most certainly did. No, he didn’t take the overall world title, but he won the 5th round (out of 10 rounds) and placed in 2 other rounds, bringing home a pretty paycheck, a beautiful new belt buckle, and some fresh scars. Will he be back there next year? You betcha. And I can guarantee that he will keep persevering until he does win that world title.
Perseverance. What does this word mean to me? It means never giving up when the world is screaming at you to. It means defying the odds and standing up on your feet every single time you get knocked down. It means making a dream a goal and going after it full force. I’ve spent my entire life watching my younger brother persevere and I finally watched him succeed in the most epic way possible. He is my inspiration to continue to persevere no matter how hard it is or how long it takes.
image source – project move