Thank you so much for everything you have done for me. You all mean so much to me. Even though I have never met you all, you all feel like family to me.
This isn’t her first rodeo, but Alex, 15, still has mixed emotions about being in the spotlight.
“Having all those thousands of people watching me is scary, but it also feels kinda great,” she said with a grin. “I feel like I’m famous.”
Learning rodeo and other skills at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch teaches residents like Alex to balance work and play, and provides them with excitement and opportunities for healthy risk-taking. For Alex, it’s the adrenaline rush of competing in the rodeo that keeps her coming back for more. In this, her third year to compete in the Boys Ranch Rodeo, Alex will strive for excellence in the senior roping, senior poles and barrels, and senior goat tying competitions.
Maintaining the focus necessary to do well in the Boys Ranch Rodeo is something Alex once thought impossible. But, Cal Farley’s has worked with Alex to develop her ability to channel her racing thoughts into a single productive activity.
“I know how to control my emotions now,” Alex confirmed with a smile.
Alex is most excited for this year’s rodeo, though, because a few very special people will be cheering her on in the stands: her mom, dad and siblings.
Before coming to Boys Ranch, Alex’s family relationships were strained by her rebellious behavior. She and her sisters were adopted, and Alex frequently railed against her parents’ authority. They patiently addressed these issues at home with little success.
Wanting the very best for Alex, they turned to Cal Farley’s for help.
“I thought Boys Ranch was going to be all about cows and horses and barbed-wire fences,” Alex said.
While there is plenty of livestock at Boys Ranch, it turned out the only fences around Alex were the ones she’d built in her own mind. And, after seven years at Boys Ranch, Alex is proud to say that with Cal Farley’s help, she’s mended many of those fences, tearing down the walls between her and her family.
“My biggest accomplishment at Boys Ranch is getting closer to my family,” she said.
Alex isn’t yet sure what her future holds after Cal Farley’s, but she is thankful her advisers, teachers and house parents are teaching her to make good decisions, so she’ll be ready to make those choices when the time comes. Alex does know she wouldn’t be where she is today without Cal Farley’s generous supporters. Given the chance to address those supporters at the 74th annual Boys Ranch Rodeo, Alex knows exactly what she’d say:
“Thank you so much for everything you have done for me. You all mean so much to me,” Alex said. “Even though I have never met you all, you all feel like family to me.”