Nod Your Head Cowboy
The difference between getting ready to ride and actually riding is the moment you nod your head. Nodding your head gets the gate opened for you. What you did in the time before and for the eight or so seconds after you nod your head, mentally and physically, is what makes or breaks you as a bull rider. Each time you nod your head, it’s a defining moment on your bull riding career time line. Here’s a breakdown of the what, when, why, if, how, etc. of nodding your head.
You nod your head to mean yes. You shake your head to mean no. Nodding your head indicates “Yes. I’m ready. I agreed to this.” For bull riders, it’s the industry signal that you’re ready to start. You should be able and ready to nod your head with your whole heart. It’s a positive show of your confidence in your decision to get on. Nod your head like you mean it.
You should nod your head as soon as you are physically in a position to begin a bull ride, not mentally. You should have been mentally ready long before you climbed down into the chute. Your physical preparations in the chute should take as little time as possible. If the bull’s obviously not ready, that’s one thing. If you’re not ready, that’s another. Get mentally ready before you get in. Get physically ready once you get on – then nod your head.
No one else can nod your head for you. They can’t want it bad enough, train hard enough or even ride the bull for you. That’s all your call. But if you think about it, you’ve already nodded your head mentally several times before you ever got down in the chute. You did it in your mind when you entered up, again when you chapped up and once more when you roped up. You said “I came here. I’m ready. I agreed to this.” Getting on a bull and nodding physically is the reason you showed up. The last nod before the gate opens should be the reward for all of your prior dreams, planning, training and efforts. If you’ve earned the right to sit on the bull, ask for the chance to ride the bull.
It all begins when you nod your head, until then, it’s just a wish. Be ready to make it happen.