As I was headed up to the Event Center this afternoon for Openings Rehearsal I noticed a parking lot full of trucks at Crossroads softball fields. Quickly, I flipped a "U"- I mean, I turned at the next available turn so I could go back and check it out!

To my dismay, I had missed most of the tournament but caught the end of the semi-finals round between the Rocky Mountain Region and whoever they beat- they didn't have matching shirts with their region name so I just can't remember! This game was in double overtime. First team to score at that point was moving onto the finals. With a lot at stake, the Rocky Mt. Region was up to bat. After seeing a girl in shorts slide into home- the celebration began! Rocky Mt Region is on to the Championship - set to play the Ozark Region- a one and out team from last year. With only the short walk to field one for a rest, the Championship began at 2- sharp. I was only able to stick around for a short time, but when I left, the Ozark Region was up, 11-7. Feeling fairly confident that I knew who was going to win, I left.

So long objective reporting... Sadly, the Ozark Region lost their lead and the Rocky Mt Region takes the trophy- a new one this year. Typically I don't really care who wins, but this year I have a special bond with one team/region in particular, University of Tennessee-Martin. Tonight you will see John Luthi from UTNM be presented with the Coach of the Year award in the opening ceremony. I have done the openings for 5 years and have never really felt a bond with the students.I ran into each of them at Cowboy Church last night and feel like I have been privileged to meet them and be a part of this.

In my life, my rodeo coach played a vital role in my life and helped to shape the person I am. I see the impact that this person can have on one person's life and truly enjoy putting this opening together every year. Thank you to those kids who made it even more special this year.