It's crazy how fast time has gone by since Vegas and the NFR.
It seems like I was just counting down the days until the first day of the finals and, all of a sudden, I'm in Lafayette, La., at the first rodeo of the year.
I had a great time at the finals and I am so grateful for my chance to go there two years in a row. It's amazing how different it was this year compared to last. My first year I felt like I spent the whole finals with so many nerves running through me that it took a lot to try and fight bulls like I know I can. I felt like I needed to prove to everybody that I deserved to be there.
This year, however, it was a completely different story. My confidence level was so much higher that I knew that I could go in there and protect each cowboy without worrying about making mistakes or whether or not I was going to do something wrong and get fined. I was a lot more relaxed and I think that shows because Kelly Jennings and I were able to get all 15 guys through ten rounds, and that is something that I know him and I are extremely proud of and blessed to have had happen.
After the finals, it was nice to have a bit of a break and go try out a few things that I hadn't done in a while. I went to Utah and went snow-skiing for a day and after I caught my edge (on a black diamond and not a bunny slope, just so that's clear!) and ended up heading down the hill backwards, I realized I should probably be a little more careful so that I can get to San Antonio and Houston in one piece. And by the way, don't worry, I didn't fall . . . that time! I also decided to go snowmobiling, which I had never done before, and I learned the hard way that you cannot stop in powder! After that experience I decided to stay on the groomed trail a bit more with my sled because those things are hard to pull out of the snow once you're stuck.
Then, like I said, I was in Lafayette, La., fighting bulls. My next stop after that is one of my favorite rodeos to work, San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo. During San Antonio, there will be two Xtreme Bulls that will be televised on ESPN, so check your local listings.
I am so grateful for the blessings I have received over the past few years of my career and look forward to the possibility of meeting some of my readers down the road. Visit me at my website, ClayCollins.net to find out more about me and my schedule... I hope you all had happy holidays and remember, in the words of Ricky Bobby, "if you're not first, you're last"... so good luck all you rodeo fans and contestants!