It had been two years since my last rodeo run. Something was different this time.
It wasn’t my young horse, the different saddle or a new pen that seemed different to me. It was the fact I traded in my cowboy hat for a helmet. When you think of cowboys and cowgirls you think of starched jeans, boots and cowboy hats. Helmets are not on that list. Over the last couple of years, helmets have become more and more popular, but there are some reasons why I’m not wearing a helmet.
I’m not wearing one because they come in cool colors and trendy patterns. I’m not wearing one because I’m scared of my horse. I’m not wearing a helmet because a famous barrel racer made it cool (Although thanks to her, I look less like an alien and don’t get very many funny looks). I’m not wearing one because I had a bad accident.
For years I made excuses and reasons in my head for not wearing a helmet like so many others have. “I just don’t feel like a cowgirl without my hat.” “They make my head look giant.” “They are too hot to wear all the time.” “They are uncomfortable.” Well, I found a helmet that doesn’t fit too shabby. It sits pretty close to my head, its comfortable, AND it is well vented. Now, the hat thing, I’m not going to lie, it will take some time to get over that one. I look at the pictures from the rodeo a couple weeks ago and barrel race this weekend and seeing a helmet on my head still looks a little weird to me. At least I don’t have to worry about hat fines, right?
Wearing a helmet is a choice, just like buckling your seatbelt when you get in a car. I know that a helmet will not protect me from all harms. I know that it isn’t a 100%guarantee that I won’t get hurt. I know that every time I swing my leg over my horse and make a run down the alleyway there are risks, but putting on a helmet might just be the one thing that saves my life one day.
I’m wearing one because I don’t want to miss out on anything life has to offer. I am wearing a helmet because I love being an aunt and want to see my niece and nephew
graduate from high school and chase their dreams. I’m wearing one because my dad drives a race car with a full cage, wears a helmet and a fire suit to be safe. I wear a helmet because I plead with my friends who ride motorcycles to wear theirs. I decided to put on a helmet because I can think of some close calls where I would have needed one if the scale was tipped the other way. I wear a helmet because I know my hobby and lifestyle is dangerous. I choose to wear a helmet because I know how much I worry about my big brother on his motorcycle without one. I put on a helmet because I don’t want someone to ever have to say “if only she was wearing a helmet.” I choose to wear a helmet because I have said goodbye to too many friends from freak accidents and circumstances out of their control. I wear a helmet because if there is one thing I can do that can prevent my friends from having to go to my funeral, I’m going to do it.