As a competitor, have you ever wondered what it takes to make it to the top? What makes an exceptional all around cowboy? Brayden Lelek has it figured out. Over nine rodeos, Brayden accumulated 2745 points, over 1000 points ahead of the nearest competitor, to take home the coveted title of the 2019 CIRA High Point Cowboy. He is also a student at Lakeland College where he studies agricultural business and has been a member of the CIRA for the past two years. Brayden finds his success in the steer wrestling, calf roping and team roping aboard two horses, Cock-a-doodle and Zeus. Take a look below to see how this phenomenal athlete and horseman did it.
1. First, tell us about the horses you compete on.
Cock-a-doodle is a 15-year-old sorrel. You can haze, head and heel off him. He can pretty much do (almost) anything. Zeus is an eight-year-old horse that I bought in June. He’s my bulldogging horse and this his first full year of rodeoing.
2. Competing at an elite level how do you sustain a sharp mental game?
Repetition and practice. I make it a point to rope the dummy every night. You stay sharp and then go in with the attitude that you know you have worked your hardest. If it works out then that’s what is meant to be, and if it doesn’t work out then you congratulate whoever was successful and work harder for next time.
3. What was your biggest success this CIRA season?
Being able to take home the all around, tie down and steer wrestling season leader titles. I’ve worked hard, so it’s been nice to see it pay off.
4. What was your biggest challenge this CIRA season?
The biggest challenge for me this season has been the mental aspect. There were a few things going on with my family, so learning how to cope with that while still focusing on school and rodeo was the hardest part.
5. How do you keep your horses sharp throughout the season?
I just make sure that every time I back into the box it’s straightforward, and I put a really big emphasis on not overusing my horses.
6. How do balance your time and energy between school/work and rodeo?
Definitely planning. If I have a big assignment I make sure I do it before the rodeo because I know that during or coming home from the rodeo it wont get done. It’s staying organized, thinking ahead and being balanced.
7. What are your must haves in the trailer for both you or your horses
Well Zeus has got some wild hair, so some show sheen for sure. For me, it’s keeping a positive attitude.
8. How do you handle a bad run or find motivation in a slump?
I believe a lot of it is just mental. It’s as much about having a good state of mind, as it is the physical practice. You need to practice enough to have the physical ability, but also have the strong mental game that goes with it.
9. What’s your best advice for aspiring rodeo athletes?
That would be to practice hard, but also remember to have fun. At the end of the day that’s what we do it for.
10. What’s your favourite part about being a member of the CIRA?
The atmosphere. Everyone gets along; it’s not a stressful environment and how the rodeos are run works well with school.
11. Who are your biggest inspirations?
My mom and dad, because they have always pushed me to be the best, but also have fun while doing it.
12. Any people or sponsors you would like to thank?
I would like to thank my parents. They still help me get down the road and that’s very much appreciated.