The Power of an Agenda
Cal Poly's winning-est Women's Rodeo Team in history!
THEN: 1968 Cal Poly Women's Team and Intercollegiate
Rodeo National Champions Sharon, Nancy Robinson
Peterson and Barbara Baer pictured with Advisor
NOW: Nancy, Barbara and Sharon at the
2015 reunion (photo by Katie Cooney).
Life is quite a journey and honestly, it takes some maturity (a nice way of saying age), to gage ones success. Sure, there are perks and rewards along the way, but the true meaning of success is found during those personal conversations we have with ourselves. I just returned from a reunion with my college roommate Barbara Baer to our Alma Mater, the first I had attended since graduation. As I look back, accepting the invitation to attend Cal Poly, a university vested in agriculture, not to mention an intercollegiate rodeo dynasty that boasts more National Finalists and Hall of Famers than all other "rodeo" schools combined, was a streak of luck in my young life.
I was always college bound. I was lucky to have parents who had a bigger vision for my life than I had. My dad's agenda was to guide me towards skills that would employ me. At that time words like secretarial and managerial were in most of his conversations; horses and agricultural were in mine, and definitely not office related. I had found a job at a sales yard on the weekends and was determined that horses, cattle and agriculture would be my future. I was city raised, my father an Aeronautical Engineer – obviously we had two different visions for my future. So, we negotiated, or I should say, I begged! Pierce Junior College was located in the Valley about 40 miles North of my home. Pierce had an agriculture department so I could take business classes to appease my parents, and agriculture classes to appease me!
It was during my rodeo team competition that I was noticed by Cal Poly, an intercollegiate rodeo dynasty, and offered an athletic rodeo scholarship. Looking back, it was another lucky break. With the enticement of a scholarship, my parents were much more agreeable to agreeing to let me go up the coast to continue my business studies at an agricultural focused University... rodeo business was on my agenda!
After graduation, I realized my rodeo career was over unless I honed my skills and found a horse that could compete in professional barrel racing. My parents did not agree. They said it was time to go to work... parents, always so practical! Knowing I needed a job that would provide me independence, I decided to go to work for the airlines as a flight attendant. I thought if I couldn't rodeo I could at least visit towns that hosted rodeos. My parents were happy and for once we were on the same agenda!
As fate would have it, additional unplanned opportunities arose. During slower times of the year, leaves of absences were offered. I figured I could take time off, travel with my horse to the rodeos and gain some practical experience in the area I hoped I could one day make a living. I figured out that I could substitute teach part time to help pay my way, feed myself, my horse and fuel my car. Looking back, how that plan came together so smoothly, I will never know. I certainly don't give myself credit for being able to make that sweet plan today. When the airlines called me back to work, I would load my horse and travel back to my domicile, anxious to for the next opportunity. Like I said, I always had an agenda.
Each life choice allows us to contemplate how the outcome fits into the puzzle of life by moving us a step closer or further away from the goal. It certainly takes focus, passion, an agenda, and a lot of luck to be successful. It isn't that the path cannot deviate; the more we mature and learn, the more vision and options are available.
I consider myself one of the luckiest Cowgirls in the world, wondering how I got from the beaches of Southern California to the Cowgirl Hall of Fame! Though I never worked in my degree, I have utilized the skills I gained at Cal Poly and through my experience in Professional Rodeo to develop skills for my own business. Standing back at Cal Poly during the opening ceremonies, I found myself smiling at my lucky life's choices, and at the same time amazed at the power of an agenda! For the full story and more photos, click here!