It’s been an amazing year

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I must apologize. I haven’t been around much the last week, but there’s a good reason why.

It’s been an OUTSTANDING year for me, for Rodeo Media Relations and for TwisTED Rodeo. The 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo was an awesome way for me to close out this tremendous year, and I’ve been beyond blessed to be associated with so many great people involved in our wonderful sport.

From the Harbin family to you, Merry Christmas. May you rope all your dreams in the new year.
From the Harbin family to you, Merry Christmas. May you rope all your dreams in the new year.

Primarily, none of this is possible without the undying and loving support of my wife, Lynette, and our girls, Laney and Channing. I’ve been away from home more this year than any other, and that is, by far, the toughest piece of the puzzle that is my life.

One of the true blessings – and one of the true testament of God’s timing – is that my business took off at the same time our youngest moved into preschool; I have served the role of Daddy Daycare since her birth four years ago, a job I have cherished.

But that leads me to another blessing, my mother- and father-in-law, Rose and Raymond, who jump in and help us out each and every time we need it. There is no way we could do any of this without them and all they do for us and for our girls, who adore spending nights with Grandma and Grandpa.

For three years, I’ve served as media director for Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo; more importantly, I have a true friend in Pete Carr. Not only has he offered me an opportunity to work with one of the great stock firms in the sport, but he has helped expand the role and reach of Rodeo Media Relations. You will find many great people in our sport, but rare is it that you will find a stock contractor who has been that progressive.

I’ve worked with Robert Simpson and the others at the Lazy E Arena for more than a decade, and it’s an honor every time I walk into that hallowed building or prepare items for any Lazy E-produced event. The first rodeo I worked after the development of Rodeo Media Relations was the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo, and it will always hold a special place in my heart – it’s also the place I met my wife, who volunteered for the committee for several years.

I can’t say 2012 was all gravy, though. My father died in October at the age of 80. He was ready to go, and I take great comfort in that and the care that he received daily from my sister, Shelly, and her family. Dad sparked my interest in rodeo four decades ago, when we made the annual trip to his childhood home and took in the Woodward (Okla.) Elks Rodeo. Little did I know then that this sport would take such a strong hold of my passions, but I’m thankful it did.

My dad died knowing I was doing what I love and that my passions burn for many wonderful things, not the least of which is telling stories about the people who make this sport possible and promoting rodeo to the world. It’s not close to the most important part of my being. No, God always comes first, followed closely by Lynette, Laney and Channing.

But just beyond those most special to me always will be the relationships, those of my extended family and my friends, some of whom are much closer than blood relatives will ever know. They are who have made me what I am, and I hope and pray I can only do them justice.

My vacation began a few days after the NFR’s 10th go-round. My final feature is on the wonderful story of world champion Mary Walker, who overcame major challenges – of losing her only son to a car wreck and rehabilitating her body after an injury that left her in a wheelchair for months – to win the coveted gold buckle. I cried with her, and I laughed with her, and I wrote from my heart.

I think that’s a pretty good way to wrap an awesome 2012. I hope you have an amazing Christmas and new year.


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