As today is Mother\’s Day, it\’s only fitting to post something in tribute to Mothers all across the globe. So Happy Mother\’s Day all you wonderful ladies!
I also thought I\’d share an inspiring interview I recently had the chance to conduct with Susan Sears – mother of Lindsay Sears.
With her National Finals Rodeo championships and plethora of other titles to her name, Lindsay has become a Canadian hero. Aboard her super horse \”Martha,\” you could pretty much say \”Lindz\” has reached rock star status with a following of stratospheric proportions.
Yet as is often the case, behind every great success story is a support system that stays true rain or shine. For Lindsay, that support system comes large in part, from her family. And especially from her mother. And when Sue is not busy with the family\’s extensive cattle and farming operation – Sears Ranches, which, I might add, celebrated 100 years and 3 years of Ag business in 2010 – Sue Sears can also be found at the helm of the family\’s horse operation.
Of course, Sue is quick to credit others and incredibly modest about her own contributions. But the world can see the quiet force she is, frequenting the behind-the-scenes action.
So without further ado, here\’s my Q & A with Sue:
Q. Can you please tell me a bit about Sears Ranches / 76 Cattle Co?
My husband Rick and I, together with Rick\’s brother Jeff and wife, Dode, and our son, Jordan, actively operate a farming/ranching operation in the Nanton, AB, area. The Sears family homesteaded in the Nanton area in 1910 and has been actively farming and raising cattle ever since. Our children are the 5th generation to farm the land. Over the years, the operation has grown and expanded into a multi-faceted business with a corporate office in Nanton.
Q. Can you please tell me a bit about your family?
Our son, Jordan, graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in AgBusiness and our daughter, Lindsay, graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Agriculture and Applied Economics. Both of them were members of their respective College Rodeo Teams and received rodeo scholarships that assisted them with college expenses.
Upon graduation, our son, started a very successful Custom Harvesting/Silaging Business and worked on both sides of the border before returning home to take over the farming operation. Lindsay also returned home after graduation with the intention of becoming involved in the Commodity Trading end of our business. However six months later, in January 2006, the decision to purchase Sugar Moon Express, aka \”Martha\” changed her plans and, together they formed a partnership that has taken them to six consecutive NFR appearances. This has resulted in 2 World Championships and 2 Reserve World Championships.
Q. Is there a quote that you live by?
Success is based on the ability to focus on a goal and \”stay\” the course….. and to never confuse \”good luck\” with \”good management.\” To be successful in any endeavour you will need both!
Q. Lindsay has had tremendous success in the last few years. Many people have told me that you are the backbone to a very successful operation and play a very significant role in supporting Lindsay and therefore in part, to her success. Can you please tell me about all the things you help with on a day to day basis?
As far as playing a supportive role in Lindsay\’s success, we are no different than any other parents. We simply provide support when needed, whether it be in helping her get down the road, out back in the practice pen or a simple word of encouragement when needed. I think the most important thing we\’ve contributed in Lindsay\’s success, is a work ethic. Success doesn\’t come easy to anyone but if you work hard, stay focused and \”stay the course\” – your chances of achieving your dreams are much greater!
Q. Can you please tell me about your horse operation?
Lindsay and I decided a few years ago that we would selectively breed a few of the mares that she had been successful on and, consequently, we now have several young prospects! I have several in training with Clay Webster and Steve Dunham. As to how many will end up in the barrel racing arena – who knows. It\’s too soon to tell. Patience is a virtue and one that I rely on every day. Martha is one of those \”one-of-a-kind\” horses that, if you are lucky, you may find once in your lifetime.
She is an amazing athlete. In fact, I think so much so, that she is probably a freak of nature. So, it is very difficult to evaluate the athletic abilities of these other young horses because in the back of your mind, you are always comparing them to her. One thing for certain, it\’s been great fun watching her and Lindsay over the past six years. As for the future, who knows where it will lead them….. a 7th trip to the National Finals Rodeo and a chance to compete for a World title in 2012? ….Another opportunity to compete at the Canadian Finals?
Q. Lindsay has been quoted as stating that Martha is not only an amazing athlete, she is also a family member – can you elaborate on that?
After winning Houston this year, Lindz was asked in the interview how much would she would sell Martha for. Her answer was, \”she\’s not for sale!\” However, Boyd persisted and asked Lindsay, \”$100,000? $200,000? $500,000?\”
Lindsay\’s response was \”Martha\’s part of our family – would you sell your daughter????\”
You can\’t put a price on something that is a part of your life. That\’s not to say that, at some point, Martha\’s embryo\’s won\’t be for sale!
Q. What has been your proudest moments as a mother?
My proudest moment as a mother was when Lindsay was asked to fly to Kansas City to fulfill a young bull rider, Cody Stevens\’ dying wish. He wanted to meet her in person. Cody\’s doctors had given him two or three days to live. He was losing his battle with leukemia. Lindsay had been contacted about 8 weeks earlier by a friend of Cody\’s, the night before his bone marrow transplant. His friend explained that Cody had always had a crush on Lindsay and loved to watch her and Martha compete. He wondered if Lindsay could perhaps call Cody and try to lift his spirits a little, as this was the last hope in his treatment.
So, Lindsay called and spent an hour on the phone talking about rodeo, life, and how one never knows what might lie ahead with Cody. Cody told her that he hoped that he would be able to go home and ride his horse again.
More recently, Lindsay was asked to come and spend Cody\’s last days with him. There would be no last trip home for Cody to ride his horse. Lindsay stayed with Cody until the very end. They talked for hours. About the NFR. About horses. And they laughed at the funny things that happen on the road.
Cody died sadly, the next day. But the gift he gave to Lindsay was far more precious than a world title!