Knowing I Belong: How Bailey Hines Reshaped Her Confidence to Win the 2020 Canadian Finals Breakaway

Hines talks about how she adjusted her mental focus to win the 2020 Canadian Finals Breakaway crown and the $10,000 payday that went along with it.

Billie-Jean Duff

What I’ve worked on most lately is my mental game, especially heading into the Canadian Finals Breakaway.

I qualified in 2019 for the Canadian Finals, and I completely fell apart two weeks ahead of time. I felt like I wasn’t roping tough enough. When I qualified I was confident, but when it came down to it, I realized the event I’d qualified for, and the girls I was roping against, and my confidence fell apart. I completely sabotaged myself.

Then this year, when I was getting ready to start practicing for the Finals, I could feel that doubt coming back. One night, my mom could see I was having a crappy practice. She stopped me, and she said we weren’t doing this again this year. She said we were two weeks before the event, upset after every practice. That was the turning point before hand for me, that wakeup call she gave me. I always roped good at home. But my nerves would take over at a competition, and I’d basically blank out.

So in practice, I really focused on my mental game. I stayed focused, I picked a start, and I had a game plan and executed it every run. I really had to tell myself that I deserved to be there. I worked at it, and I told myself that if I kept working, I’d have a chance to win this thing. I reminded myself that I qualified like everybody else.

So when I got to the Finals, I felt really prepared. I felt so focused on my game plan—more focused than I ever felt at a jackpot. That really stepped up my game, and it really worked this time.

They had a two-head average in the long go, and the top 20 came back to the short go, and it was four-head, elimination style. So in the short round, first 20 roped, then 12, then eight, and, finally four. It was sudden death every round. You just had to stay alive.

That was definitely a test of my mental strength. I was really confident coming out of the long go, but when we started the short go, I backed into the box in the round of 20, and, luckily, I realized my mind was completely blank. I was about to nod my head, and then a light bulb clicked on. I had to readjust and remember my start and what I had to see and what I had to do. After that, I felt pretty dialed in. My plan through the short go was to be safe with the barrier. I tried not to push it too much because I knew I just needed a clean time. Then my last calf, I was last out and had to be 3.6. That doesn’t sound that fast, but it was a longer set up, and the calves were running. I knew I had to push it more than I had been, and I got out like a thief. My pusher, reigning Canadian champ Kendal Pierson, helped me more than anything. I was a 3.0 in the Final go, and that sealed the deal./

This is by far the biggest win I’ve had. When I was getting ready, it had dawned on me that holy crap I have a chance to win this thing. If I plan this out right, and do my job, I had as much of a chance as anybody. A lot of tough girls had two spots, but I tried to not let that deter me. It was a real confidence booster and it solidified I have the ability to rope with tough girls. If I prepare myself right and do my job, I have a chance to win at any of these jackpots I enter. BRJ

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