Troxel Athlete, Rachel Gagliardi, is a member of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Rodeo Association competing in Barrel Racing, Pole Bending and Breakaway Roping. She is the current Reserve Champion in Breakaway Away Roping and loves everything about competition. Here, Rachel talks about what sportsmanship means to her and shares her top 5 keys to success.
We’ve all heard the words “be kind to others” and “treat others how you’d like to be treated,” but sometimes we lose touch with this rationale when it comes to riding in competition. To me, sportsmanship is a HUGE part of who I am and how I want to portray myself. I want to perform at my best and be a role model for others. For me, being a good sportsman comes in many forms. Whether it is wishing my competitors good luck before their runs, congratulating them on their successes, or showing respect to a judge, being a good sport means more than saying nice things. It’s about being genuine in supporting others and embracing a positive attitude. Rather than tearing others down, we should build each other up.
I have personally been the victim of poor sportsmanship. As a victim, I have to say that I believe it weakens the competition. When I compete, I want nothing less than a field full of great competitors who support each other, get along with each other, and keep the field even and honest. Often, sportsmanship is easily overlooked as an optional piece of the puzzle, but it’s one of my essential keys to success.
Growing up as a competitor in the Pennsylvania High School Rodeo Association and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Rodeo Association (CPYRA), a family run organization, taught me what healthy competition was about. As new members join, older members are always willing to offer advice and instruction. For me, that meant being afforded the opportunity to learn to tie a goat, being offered horses from competitors to use when mine have been injured, and returning the favor by providing advice and equipment to others. I believe the reason that the competition is enjoyable for all is a direct result of the family-like atmosphere and the importance that is placed on sportsmanship. Becoming a good sportsman is a goal we all should have. With that in mind, I have created a list of reminders to help us all be better sportsman.