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Tag Archives: All-American

All-Time Favorite Sports Franchise – Canadian, Texas Wildcats

I guess I’m like most American males, I like sports. Something about the competition that appeals to me. On a personal note, I’m a very competitive person. I have learned over time to kind of keep it in check, if you know what I mean. And, with what I do now….there’s just not much room for competition.

I like a lot of different sports; college football and basketball (in fact college basketball is the only sport that it doesn’t really matter who’s playing…I can watch, enjoy and really ‘get into’ the game). I watch the NBA quite a bit more now since the OKC Thunder are in town. Down through the years I’ve been a fan of: The Minnesota Vikings during the ‘Purple Gang’ era; the LA Lakers when Magic and James Worthy were there; Celtics in their glory days with Bird, McHale, Ainge and others. I’ve been an OU Football and Dallas Cowboy fan forever…..but they’ve both broke my heart so many times, it don’t even hurt anymore. lol; Anytime my kids or grandkids are competing, and it doesn’t matter what sport it is, I’m all in! I enjoy that, sports wise, as much as anything.

But when I think of my favorite team to watch, (‘franchise’ might be too strong a word for HS Football) and especially at this time of year, it’s an easy choice…it’s the Canadian, Texas Wildcats Football Team. If you’re not familiar with Canadian, it’s up in the Texas Panhandle. It’s a small ranching/oilfield town. I was born in Canadian and lived in Hemphill County for 25 years. Some of my good friends have sons and grandsons playing on the team. And the team,….well it’s just about the funnest team to watch of any team, any sport, any era that I’ve ever seen. I make a regular season game or two each year and I’ve rarely missed a playoff game in the last 6 or 7 years. The Wildcats are the current 2A State Champs (basketball, too!). They’ve been ranked #1 statewide all year long and ranked #2 nationally! This season’s games have been lopsided and the starters have rarely been on the field in the 2nd half. And this is in one of the toughest districts in all of Texas with at least 4 State Champs in the past 5-6 years. (Canadian-2; Stratford-1; Wellington-1) They have overwhelmed State Ranked 3-A and 4-A teams this year as well. Example: The Texas State 2-A Game of the Week pitted #1 Canadian against #5 Albany (Runner-up State Champs last season and playing in Semi-Finals again this year!) Canadian won that game 49-0, and Albany never advanced the ball beyond the 50 yd line! They’re currently on a 29-0 run and will play Crawford  (click for info) in Wichita Falls Friday night in the State Semi-Finals. They’re a 24 pt favorite!

There are plenty of individual stars to talk about on the team (several being recruited by D-1 NCAA Teams)  but even they would be quick to tell you, “It’s not about them”. It’s the best ‘actual team effort’, any sport, that I’ve ever witnessed. As you’d guess, they’re extremely well-coached but there’s more to it than that. When I say, ‘team effort’, I don’t just think about the players and coaching staff, I think about the whole town! I’ve never seen a town get behind a team like Canadian has over the past 10-12 years. Canadian will consistently have more fans in the stands on an ‘away’ game than the other team. In their most recent playoff game with district rival, Stratford, in Amarillo…there were 6000-8000 fans in the stands. (Canadian Population: 2937; Stratford: 2073!) This is a high-school program that might just be among the very best in the nation. A program that’s produced an All Big-12 First Team & Sports Illustrated Honorable Mention All-American, Auston English, and currently has alumni in starting positions at Army, Ryan Alexander; and at Missouri, Taylor Chappel, along with several others at smaller institutions. And it’s not just another high school focused on sports they’re way toward the top when it comes to academics with at least one student accepted at Harvard.

As fun as it is to have a team like the Wildcats to cheer for, it’d be diminished in my opinion if there wasn’t a high premium placed on character. It appears they’ve done a great job in emphasizing that, too! So, you can kind of see why I like the Wildcats. You’d like ’em too if you get the chance to watch them play. But, you better hurry….they play Friday night in Wichita Falls….and then hopefully in Houston for the State Championship next Thursday.  #ALLIN

*Check this one out, too:

Tee-Ball…..The #1, Undisputed, Very Best Team Sport of ‘Em All!!

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It Was A “Test” of Epic Proportions!

Well that might be exaggerating just a little bit….but at the time, ……and considering my ‘new’ standing in the Lord, it really was quite the test. It was in 1985 and my good friend, Danny Mason, invited me to judge his annual bull riding in Mineral Wells, Texas. It was a big event; lots of money up, and some of the best riders in the world were competing there. The crowd was huge. I’m standing inside the arena and Cade, my 2nd son who was about 3 at the time, was sitting in a box seat where I could do my judging job and also keep a close eye on him.

The first section of about 12 riders was completed, there was a 10 minute break and we were about to start the second section.About that time I hear a loud voice coming from the grandstands griping and cussing about the judging. Well , immediately, I assumed that it’s someone that I know just kidding, and giving me a hard time. But I finally saw the guy coming up the walkway to where I was…..and I’d never seen this guy before! He swiftly walked my way and into the box seat section where Cade was sitting…..still yelling and cussing at me. By now he’d drawn the attention of everyone at the event. If not for his yelling voice, you could’ve heard a pin drop….and every eye in the place is on us!

I said to him, “If you want to talk to me, you need to get down here and talk to me!” But he just kept on! Now, I’ve never considered myself a ‘fighter’ but I’ve also always had a resolve to not let anyone push me around, either. In professional rodeo in those days I had to ‘stand my ground’ many a time. And what made this situation even more difficult was the fact that my life had, just less than a year before, been turned around…..and I was growing in my relationship with the Lord. So I knew, to handle things how we used to handle them,….would not be the ‘right’ thing to do.

Still yelling and cussing at me, I told him again, “If you want to talk to me, you get down here and talk to me!” He’s by now leaning over the top rail on the fence and I somehow resisted the opportunity to knock him plumb out, like I would’ve done only a few years before. And without thinking….I grabbed the hat off his head and just whipped him over the head with it! I then pitched it behind him in front of the grandstand and most of the 300-400 people were laughing uncontrollably…..and all my friends….well, they were laughing harder than that! When I did that, I said to him, “Now, I’ve told you about three times….if you want to talk to me, you need to get down here and talk to me! You got anything to say to me?!” He pressed his lips together….shook his head “No”, picked up his hat (amongst all the laughter) and made his way into the distance!

Now that probably ain’t the best way to handle a situation like that….and I doubt that Jesus would’ve whipped him over the head with his hat…..but considering the alternative….I think I did pass the test!

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*If you like Rodeo Stories, you’ll enjoy these: 

*(click on highlighted link to read)

VIP #1 Booger Bryant

VIP #2 Sarge Cook

VIP #8 Monty Taylor

8378 Zulu…..And the Flight That Was Almost the Last One!

First Trip To Calgary

August 12….A Day That Lives in Infamy…..*at  Least For Me!

Avoid the Vending Machine, Microwave, Green Chile Burritos in the Albuquerque Airport At All Costs!

 

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Now, If I Were a Lawyer…..

…..which I ain’t…..but I almost was. I went to college right our of high school on a rodeo scholarship to Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. My grades were good enough but It was mostly all about college rodeo at the time and not much about education. Looking back…not very smart but it was what it was. We did have a very competitive team at Eastern. I was second in the bull riding in the  region with a lot of good bull riders….and our team was 3rd nationally at the College Finals in Bozeman, Montana. But after a year there I’d had enough of college life and headed back to the ranch and to rodeo full-time.

I started thinking about what I would do after rodeo. Actually, looking back, not many of my rodeo friends gave much thought of what they’d do ‘after’! Again, not wise, but it was mostly a fact. I had always had an interest in law and the whole legal system, even as a young adult. I remember watching every episode I could of Perry Mason, then later Barnaby Jones and every other TV show or movie about lawyers. So, I set my mind to pursue that kind of career. My plan was to get a business degree and then on to law school. I put rodeo on the back burner, for the most part. Got another rodeo scholarship to Southwestern State in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Took some summer school classes so I’d be eligible for the fall college rodeo run. All was going right on schedule, made the Dean’s Honor Roll in both my summer and fall classes. 

When the PRCA winter rodeos cranked up I went; Denver, Ft Worth, San Antonio, Houston. I could do that and not miss too much school. I rode good, but didn’t draw good at all and up until the Astrodome Rodeo in Houston I hadn’t won a dime. But the week following Houston I ‘hit a lick’! In rodeos in Montgomery, Alabama, San Angelo, Texas and Phoenix I brought home over $5000, which was quite a bit in those days (1976). It positioned me to make a good run to go to the National Finals Rodeo. I never went back to another class at Southwestern! Again, pretty dumb (seems like I keep saying that quite a bit!), but it was what it was. My run for the NFR was squelched when I got injured at Sidney, Iowa on August 12, resulting in major shoulder surgery.

I never again pursued a law career for a number of reasons. I still think about it every week, …..sometimes daily. I still watch whatever I can on TV and movies, I read nearly all of John Grisham’s books up to a point, and I have a few friends who are lawyers. I still enjoy picking their brains about their career, it still fascinates me.

I think I would’ve made a decent lawyer. and when I’m having a bad week it does still go through my mind to go back to school and get that degree. (dumb again! Way too far behind the curve now!) But, I guess, I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Although there’s plenty of people who don’t think so……and at times I really wonder, myself. But, God has a way of getting us where He wants us to be.

So, in the meantime, I’ll just have to live that life vicariously through the few I know that are actually doing it. So, David K, Abby C., Michelle R., Deb M., James W., Lynn F. or Brian H…..if I get on your nerves (it could happen!) questioning you about what you’re doing….you have my permission to tell me to ‘back off’!

*Some great timing; finishing my blog and on the Today Show there’s a story on Dickie Scruggs, a lawyer who took on Big Tobacco…and won! I’ll be busy for a few minutes!

*You might like this one too! *(click on the highlighted link)

August 12… “A Day That Lives in Infamy”….at  Least For Me!

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“Highly Credentialed”!

I had a speaking engagement recently in Oklahoma City. It was held at a huge, and elaborate, venue….and there were several hundred people in attendance….and I was the ‘Keynote Speaker’. When I arrived and assessed the situation I immediately text Julie and said, “This is kind of a big deal! I’m pretty sure I’m out of my league. You better be praying for me!” I could immediately relate to how Forrest Gump felt when he went to the White House!

After a very honoring introduction I made my way to the podium. And, I thought….“Well, I guess I should let this big crowd of bank presidents, doctors, lawyers…and professional people of every type know that my credentials as a ‘keynote speaker’ are definitely up towards the top of the scale of speaker qualifications.” You’re probably wondering by now what those credentials are. Here’s the ‘short list’:

  1. I was in the largest graduating class that ever graduated from Allison, Texas High School (I call it the Institute of Higher Learning…just sounds better to me! lol) There were 15 of us!! I was in the Top-15 in my graduating class! (*Barely)
  2. I have been the “Keynote Speaker” at the Sayre, Oklahoma Kindergarten Graduation...not once, not twice, but 3 times! And if my own kids will keep havin’ kids, I could have a ‘lock’ on that gig for a few more years!
  3. I’m the only guy I know of that has been ‘kicked out’ of the Canadian, Texas Moose Lodge! *via a certified letter no less (You might argue that it’s not a qualifying factor but either way….I do hold that distinction) *Keep in mind, that was in the BC (Before Christ) days
  4. Roger Mills County Jr Spelling Bee Champ (4th Grade – Winning Word – “executive”) What ‘ya think about that, huh?!!

I know a ‘goat ropin’, and a tractor pull or two on my resume would make my qualifications a little more legit but I just haven’t had the hankerin’ to go to either of them. I have, however, roped a few goats and driven a tractor a little if that counts. And I guess if you consider the fact that I’ve seen Ernest Tubb in person I’d pretty much be overqualified for about any kind of speaking engagement.

I hope you’re not intimidated by that stellar list of qualifications….and if you need a top-notch speaker for your Senior Citizens Dinner, garage sale or maybe your family reunion….I just might be your guy! ……..and don’t worry about my fee ………I ain’t cheap…..but I’ll work with ‘ya!

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*You might like this one too:

You May Not Know This, But I’m Kind of a Big Deal

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2015 in Americana, Common Sense, Country Music, Humor

 

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VIP #8 – Monty Taylor

I have an unlimited pool of people to write about when I write about VIP’s. There’s been so many people throughout the course of my life that have had a profound effect on me in one way or another. I’m grateful for the things I’ve learned from all of them and grateful for the deposits they’ve made into my life.

Monty Taylor, or ‘Mont’ as I’ve called him since we were little kids, is my brother (there’s just the two of us) but he’s been my best friend since the day he was born 59 years ago. Oh, we had our differences when we were growing up like all siblings do but neither one of us ever tolerated anybody else mistreating the other one. We’ve been ‘partners in crime’, so to speak, all these 59 years. We’ve had about every kind of ‘wreck’ with horses, cattle and bulls that you could ever imagine……and some you just couldn’t imagine no matter how hard you tried. We’ve even had a couple of car wrecks; one when we were headed to school in little Allison, Texas and hit a patch of black ice and rolled my pickup up on the side. Another the night before I got married. We’d had way too much to drink and ran off a bridge on the Oklahoma line. It was a miracle that me or Mont….or Ken Henry weren’t killed. Then there was the time when I was about a 3rd grader and  Mont hadn’t started to school yet. Dad had gone to shoe horses at a neighboring ranch and he didn’t let us go. We weren’t happy about that so we got on a big ‘ol tractor. We somehow got it started….and it took off. I bailed out! (Sorry Mont!) But Mont rode ‘er on out…until it hit a cattle guard and spun out ’til it died. It could’ve easily killed us both! And, let’s just say that Cliff Taylor wasn’t too happy when he got back to the ranch and the tractor had run through the fence.

We had no choice but to be cowboys and we took to it full blast. We started our bull riding careers on the arm of the chairs and couches in a little one bedroom ranch house on the Washita River 35 miles SE of Canadian, Texas. We graduated from the chair arm to riding on the back of our dad on hardwood floors. They don’t call ’em hardwood floors for nothin’! You learn early on to try as hard as you can to not get bucked off and bang your head off the hardwood. We went to our first rodeo when I was 8 and Mont was 5. We were determined to practice riding but we had no bucking chute….but we made do! When we’d see the dust from Dad’s pickup go over that last hill….we’d gather every cow, calf and bull we had and ride every single one of them. We’d run ’em in a big pen, rope ’em, snub ’em to a post, put our rope on ’em….and the rodeo was on!! Dad started gettin’ kinda suspicious when the cow herd wouldn’t even come in when he fed….and when he noticed how bad we were bruised and skinned up!! Rodeo was a pretty important part of our lives for the next 20-25 years. We rode in every major rodeo throughout the United States and Canada…..and won money at most of ’em! We were both inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008.

Mont Taylor is a ‘Man’s Man’! He’s a man of his word, treats every single person with dignity, hard worker, great husband and Daddy, has a thousand really good friends and I doubt if he has an enemy on the whole planet. He’ll ‘loosen up’ with the best of ’em….but wouldn’t ever cause anybody any harm. We live 300 miles apart but I talk to him a couple of times a week. I have a ton of respect and admiration for him. His impact on my life has been immeasurable…..Mont Taylor is definitely a VIP!!

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Check out some more VIP’s:

VIP #1 – Booger Bryant

VIP #2 – Sarge Cook

VIP #3 – Ronnie Chadwick

VIP #4 Paul Luchsinger

VIP #5  & 6 – Edith Yowell & Nellie Millar

VIP #7 – Rick Hudson

 

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‘Nymphin’ on the Big Horn

At least that’s what us ‘professional’ fly-fishermen call it! Actually just kidding. I’m not a pro. Matter of fact, I probably don’t even qualify for ‘amateur’ fly-fisherman status. But I have been nymphin‘ on the Big Horn…..River, that is…..in south-central Montana, ’bout an hour and a half south of Billings. I was invited by my good friend, Ty Bean, from Hobbs New Mexico along with nine or ten other church leaders from Idaho, Washington, Texas, New Mexico….and me from Oklahoma. Some of these guys I know and a few of them I met when I got there. It’s an exceptional bunch of guys; strong leaders but ‘real’ people, humble, authentic and focused.

The Big Horn River is said to be one of the very best trout fishing spots in the world….and after fishing it for three long days, I believe it. We went out with professional guides. These men know their stuff and volunteer their time for these trips. Brian Carpenter, a true visionary, had a dream of bringing people like us in, giving them an opportunity to unwind, relax and recharge while doing some great fly-fishing and relationship building. He started The Refuge Foundation (click link FMI) a few years back and has a full schedule of guys coming in throughout the fishing season. It’s a top notch project.

I’d never fly-fished before. I learned a lot of stuff! ….Like how to cast, mend and strip the line. Then there’s fishing with ‘dry flies’, ‘streamers’ and ‘nymphs’. It’s quite a learning curve for a flatlander like me but it was truly a great time. I’m already looking forward to fly-fishing again sometime in the future.

Fly-fishing is kinda like a religion to these guys that do it all the time. I mean, there’s definite, clear cut, code of ethics about the whole thing. I learned some of that when I caught my first fish, a brown trout……about a 15 inch ‘er. All our fishing on the 13 mile trip down the Big Horn was ‘catch and release’. After taking a picture of me and my fish I just ‘chunked’ the trout back in the river. He made a good sized splash and on we went. Nobody said a word….but later Ty, in his extremely polite and gentle way explained to me that…..in trout fishing we don’t just ‘chunk’ the fish back out in the river. Nope….there’s a right way to do it. You just hold the fish underneath his belly and slowly lower him into the water being ever so gentle with him and then you just kinda wait until he slowly swims away. Hey, you live….you learn. But I’m guessing there’s a nice little brown trout out there somewhere on the Big Horn receiving counseling, and encouragement from some of his fish ‘brothers’ regarding his four foot belly flopper into the river.

It was a great week and one I won’t soon forget. The friendships are strengthened and I got home re-charged. My guides, Dan, John and Larry were THE very best! Great guys, expert fish finders and best of all…..kingdom men! I’ve never had an experience quite like ‘nymphin’ on the Big Horn!

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Prison Prayer Project

It has been nearly 20 years since the city of Sayre, Oklahoma began to explore the possibility of constructing a prison here. Not knowing the will of the Lord about that we just prayed about it at our regular Wednesday morning prayer time. One thing led to another and the idea became a reality. Construction started on the facility a mile east of downtown and finished up a couple of years later. All along, as we prayed about the prison, we asked the Lord to place ‘His’ people here. We prayed, amidst a lot of other specific things, that the upper-level management people would be born-again believers.

Construction had been completed but after a few months there were no inmates. Complications came up in the negotiating process. One morning during our Wednesday prayer time the Lord gave me a vivid vision of myself and a team of people praying inside the prison facility. I didn’t think much about it….but the next two Wednesdays’ I saw the same vision in my mind’s eye. I was thinking by then that it was definitely from the Lord. Just about the time our prayer session was over I got a call from a person at the prison who went to church with us. He was calling for another person, an employee, who was having some personal difficulties. He asked if I could come out to the prison and pray with the person. I agreed. I drove there and as I parked my car I said, “Lord, if You’re in this thing of us praying over the prison…put me in the company of the people who can make that decision.”. As soon as I went through the 2nd door….I came face to face with Rick Hudson (who I’d met only once a few months before), the Warden. He was flanked by the Assistant Warden and the Chief of Security, the top three positions in leadership there.

I said to them, “For three weeks in a row at our Wednesday prayer time the Lord has given me a vision of us bringing a team of people in here to pray over the prison. That’s probably against every rule you have….but if you would want us to…we’d come in and pray over every square inch of the facility.” They didn’t give me any indication one way or the other if it might happen. I left there thinking, “I shouldn’t have come across so abruptly.” I figured I had probably ‘scared’ them off. About 10 o’clock the next morning I got a call from the Assistant Warden and she said…..“We want it to happen.”! Amazing!!

I handpicked about 15 of our most faithful, serious pray-ers and met with, and instructed them about the project. We would meet in a couple of days at the church where we’d pray for about an hour and then we’d drive the 3 miles to the prison for the project. We all fasted that day and we went into the facility about 6 o’clock that evening.

There were only a few people inside the prison since there were no inmates. We started in the office area and prayed over every square inch of office space. We went from there to the ‘pods’ and prayed over each pod and every single cell in each place. We prayed over the meeting areas, the mess hall, the solitary confinement areas, the showers…..etc. There was not one single area inside the entire facility that wasn’t prayed over.

One of the guards that was in charge of leading us through the facility began to confide in one of our people that at a point in his career as a prison guard he had to shoot someone (who later died)…..and he didn’t believe that God could forgive him. They assured him of God’s forgiveness and ended up praying with him to receive Jesus as his Savior.

We were in the prison more than 3 hours….and when we entered the last room (a meeting room) there was a tangible sense that we had done all that we were there to do. There were some very prophetic things that the Lord spoke to different members of our team that night. Some of those things have already been fulfilled but there are many others that have yet to happen. 

It was really an amazing project….and one that the Lord, Himself, had initiated. As we left the prison we were encouraged that there would be some amazing things happen inside those walls in the years to come. It’s probably something that’s never been done in any prison facility on the face of the planet……..ever!

**Incidentally……We prayed that there would be a contract with someone within a week to start receiving inmates. And the negotiations with other states for inmates that had reached a stalemate for several months…somehow miraculously ended!! They secured a contract with Wisconsin within a week!!

We have learned that if God says it….and we cooperate with what He’s said…..stuff happens!!

If you like this blog post, you’ll love these too:

*(Click on the highlighted link to read)

Party at the Prison

VIP #7 Rick Hudson

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