Most rodeo fans know by now that Pueblo, Colorado, cowboy Josh Peek took home the Tie Down and All-Around buckles at the 2009 NWSS. What they may not know is he promised those victories to his grandmother ” who was lying in a hospital bed with serious injuries from a car accident three days earlier ” before he showed up at the championship round on Sunday afternoon.
The day after his NWSS victories, he spoke with candor about his grandmother’s condition and its effect on him during that important final round.
Q: What did you think of the crowd and environment during the finals of the NWSS?
A: “It was exciting. When I rode down the arena just to get ready for my event ” when they let me go down the arena to the other end ” I heard people saying, ‘Go Josh! Go Josh, go!’ I hadn’t even roped a calf yet. To hear people screaming your name as you’re riding down the arena, that’s a pretty cool environment. It creates just a little bit more, it kind of makes you just get on edge, gets you excited, and it gets you pumped up for your event right before it happens. I was sitting down there talking to my little brother and I heard somebody from the stands say, ‘Go get ’em, Josh!’ Then to have everybody just explode when I tied that calf the way I did and cheering for you and everything like that. It is kind of like family cheering for you, no matter whether you know them or not. That’s kind of how the atmosphere was in Denver and it just is exciting. Denver has embraced the NWSS and they have just literally built that deal and it’s really ” Denver and the NWSS is really, really doing good.
Q: Was there anything going on in your life that was indispensable to your success?
A: “I dedicated the All-Around buckle and Tie Down to my grandma, who is in the hospital. The tough thing about that, and one of the reasons I wanted to win Denver so bad coming into the short round ” and not just win it but win it by a mile ” was because my grandma has been the backbone to our entire rodeo career. Ever since we were little kids, we’ve grown up on the place with grandma there. She has done chores for us while were gone rodeoing … I mean, when we needed a horse, grandma got it for us. When we needed money, grandma was there. She’s just always been there that way. So with her in the hospital, in the position and situation she’s in, I left the hospital saying, ‘Hey grandma, I’m going to go win Denver for you. You’d better get better and you’d better get up; you’re going to have a belt buckle to wear out of here.'”
Q: Did it make it tough to concentrate, having your grandmother in the hospital?
A: “It did up until I rode in the box. I was trying to think, what am I going to do, how do I think? I was trying to keep up with the rodeo results up until Thursday ” who was doing what and was anybody ahead of me. From Thursday, I didn’t know anything that had happened (at the NWSS rodeo) until I walked into the short round. And I didn’t even show up to the short round until 1 p.m. (rodeo started at 2 p.m.). I checked my draw at 2 p.m., as the rodeo was starting. So I really didn’t have any idea ” I wasn’t there in a mind-frame to actually be rodeoing. I didn’t really have any care in the world to be at this short round, but I did. I don’t want to say that like I didn’t, but my mind was at the hospital with grandma, and my heart and everything else, until I rode into the box. When I rode into the box, I don’t know, I guess the Lord just kind of cleared my mind for me and when I rode into the box I was so focused, more focused than I’d ever really been.”
Q: Along those lines, when you say the Lord helped clear your mind, how important is your faith to your rodeo career?
A: “You’ve got to have ” it’s very, very big. Strong faith is everything because we travel a lot of miles and you have a lot of defeat and a lot of successes, but there are so many things that can happen on the road and so many things that ” I was raised in a Christian home and I was raised with faith, and the Lord has always provided for us when we needed something. And just like now in a time when we’re kind of low and really kind of needed some stuff, the Lord has provided for us with a big win in Denver.”
Q: How gratifying was it then ” after telling your grandmother you were going to win this for her and feeling God help settle you down in the box ” how gratifying was it then to go out there, put in the run, and earn the title?
A: “That’s kind of why I was so excited and waving my hat (after winning), is because I had so much excitement built up in me, because it worked. I was able to rope the calf. I was able to do what I wanted and what I set out to do. My goal was to win it for grandma. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I didn’t know if I could back into the box and be focused. But when I backed into the box, I was. I was just at ease when I backed into the box. So to ride out of the box ” and I knew my calf was going to run and I knew he was going to duck to the right and I knew he was wild, so I knew I had to get him off his feet. I had a game plan, and to have that game plan come true and then the feeling of knowing that I’d won it and knowing that, hey, this is a good sign for my grandma. She’s going to do better. She’s going to wear this belt buckle out of the hospital. All those emotions and feelings were coming out in the arena. That’s why I was so excited. I was like, get on your feet, people! You’re not screaming and yelling because I just won Denver, you’re screaming and yelling for my grandma. That was kind of the feeling I had.”
Q: Have you already given your buckle to your grandma?
A: “Yeah. We went right by the hospital right after the short round. She can’t respond right now. We can talk to her and we think she can hear us, but they’ve got her under so much, so that she doesn’t ” they’ve got her asleep. (But) I told grandma when I got in there with mom and dad and brothers all standing there, ‘Hey grandma, I won Denver.”
You can follow Peek’s soaring career, along with his thoughts about his grandmother, rodeo, family, and faith at http://www.PeekRodeo.com.
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