Jump for Jump

Jump for Jump

Early in the bull riding Crusade of my son, Ryan, he made the comment, “Dad, it’s really pretty simple. You just stay in the middle of ’em and ride ’em jump for jump.”

At the time, we were sitting in a Truck Stop across the Interstate from the Horse Palace, where Ryan was waiting for his turn to ride. I was sipping on my coffee and Ryan was stirring his hot chocolate.

The cafe was noisy from the farmer and trucker banter, and distractions were constant because of the shenanigans from the waitresses and busboys. I didn’t hear exactly what Ryan had said. So, I asked him to repeat it.

“Dad, you stay in the middle and ride them jump for jump.”

Yep, from the mouths of babes, or in this case a high school student at the time, comes the secret to life.

Stay in the middle and ride ’em jump for jump.

In the Moment

I thought, “Wow! Life really is that simple. Stay centered and focused on one thing at a time. The regrets of the past and anxieties of the future have absolutely nothing to do with right here, right now.”

The bull rider does not have the luxury of fretting about the last jump that almost flung him to the ground like a rag doll. And, if he is distracted with the thought of maybe a horn in his face on the next jump, he’s finished.

We’ve all done it — been consumed with replaying an episode over and over in our mind searching for an answer to the question, “Why did I say or do something or the other?”

Forgiveness is letting go of the notion there can be a better or different yesterday. Another way to stop the broken record playing in our head is to never have a conversation with anyone who is not present to participate.

As far as the risks and threats waiting for us, stop and think. How many of the things you have worried about came true? And of those that actually manifested in your life, did your anxiety resolve any part of the ugliness?

You’re in good company — same for me, too. Score on that one: Zero.

Stay in the middle and ride ’em jump for jump.

Bull Riding 101

Since the past and future have nothing to do with this Story, let’s take a look at what we can learn from the Bull Riders.

  • They pay to learn. An entry fee is paid for the opportunity of a Challenge.
  • Their ride is chosen by the hand of Fate. They accept luck of the draw.
  • They go where the bulls are. Actively pursuing the conquest is the Sport.
  • There’s only one way to get off a bull — to be bucked off.
  • There are only two ways for the Cowboy to land — on his feet or head.
  • Days of preparation go into an 8 second performance.
  • Competition is limited to Self — the relationship is Cowboy and Bull.

We all have stories to share about the seven topics above. So, I’ll simply ask the questions that we tend to ignore in the busyness of life.

  • What investment are we able and willing to make for our own growth?
  • Do we play the hand we’re dealt with grace, poise, and determination?
  • Are we waiting for the perfect opportunity? Or, are we making our luck?
  • Since it’s the only way to learn, how do we recover from our wrecks?
  • With resignation and despair, or fascination and curiosity?
  • Do we believe Preparation creates Opportunities leading to Success?
  • Why do we become distracted with what other people say and do?

Stay in the middle and ride ’em jump for jump.

Between the Ears

Whether the sport of rodeo, the game of golf, or success on the battlefield, the difference between winners and losers is found between the ears. In other words, “What are we thinking?!”

Even though Henry struggled with the spelling of Foard, he did understand, “Whether you think you can — or can’t — you’re right.” Our attitude determines our altitude.

Ryan the Cowboy (Click to Enlarge)

A year after sharing the wisdom of riding “Jump for Jump,” Ryan pulled a little camp trailer to the Cody Stampede grounds, parked it next to the pen of bulls, and talked the grounds Superintendent into letting him plug an extension cord into a power pole. Showers were available in the Contestant’s locker rooms.

Hot and dusty from the winds whistling their way out of the Shoshone Canyon, that little abode was home for Ryan as he sought to spur hair from hides of the meanest animals known to Cowboys.

One sweltering summer afternoon, as I dropped by to visit, Ryan assured me he was living the dream. So, what do you get a guy like that for his birthday a few weeks later? A pillow of course!

Stay in the middle and ride ’em jump for jump.

From Dreams to Seams

Beyond the courage it must take to cinch a strong hand into a bull-rope and the benefit of making new friends in travels from Canada to Mexico, I watched Ryan take the lessons learned from the rodeo arena into the realm of business.

In a few short years, he poured concrete foundations, built log houses, guided dudes past grizzlies into the wilderness of Wyoming hunting camps, fenced through alligator infested everglades of south Texas, tended bar in a Montana saloon, and in many other ways put into practice his education.

Then, at age twenty-two, he started work for one of the largest fracking companies in Williston, North Dakota. Ryan was there at the beginning of the boom and for five years rode that adventure all the way to the bust.

Within a short period of time, he worked his way through the ranks and was responsible for a bank of computer monitors in the Data Van, guiding men and machines to daily results of greater oil production from seams of rock.

How does a young man lead a crew of twenty men twice his age? By providing an example in word and deed that they want to follow.

One fellow, ex-Navy, who had sailed the seven seas, took Ryan aside one afternoon and said, “Ryan, I’ve served under those with stripes and stars galore. I have never been so honored to work with a man like you, before.”

Stay in the middle and ride ’em jump for jump.

Building New Dreams

Good Fences (Click to Enlarge)

Now, thirty years old, Ryan continues the quest for adventure with his own company, Crosswire, Inc. Long before the political circus of today, the tagline of Ryan’s company has been, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.”

Spending a day with Ryan at the MATE Show in Billings this last Thursday, I enjoyed listening to him respond to the oft asked question, “How much does your fence cost?”

Because Ryan is so personable and approachable, what the unsuspecting Price-Shoppers don’t realize, this isn’t his first rodeo. Compared to busting broncs and fracking shale, the realm of Commerce is a walk in the park.

“Well,” Ryan would say, “The Price will be a pittance of the Value you’ll receive. As you know, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Beyond the benefit of building dynamic relationships with People, your cows, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, dogs, and cats will remain safe and healthy, where they belong.

Then Ryan would finish by planting a seed in the inquisitive minds, “So, the only question to be answered is — How much Value do you want?”

Stay in the middle and ride ’em jump for jump.

Ryan Foard

Author: Kim Foard

My mission is to guide YOU to personal and business success, according to the vision that YOU establish for us.Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.