page contents

Your Christian Cowboy Resource

God wants ALL of us

in service to Him

I grew up in a very legalistic type family.  Church was something that you had to do and you had better act a certain way while you were there because people were watching and we didn't want to give anybody any bad ideas about how we "lived"!  Of course that carried over into the week too - everything was done to create an image of ourselves so that people would think of us a certain way!  I hated it!!


I say that because someone knows what I'm talking about -- when "religion" is an image builder or a status inhancer to someone's life, and not only that but the image or status in which others are viewed as well.  My family was extremly judgemental and since they looked at others this way, they were always worried about how others were judging them.


I started riding broncs in high school - and had to go rounds and rounds with my folks just to have them sign off for it.  They didn't know anything about the world of rodeo so surely it had to be of the devil!  Nobody who followed God could ever do something that "dangerous" they said.  (That theory doesn't match up with the New Testament disciple's lives does it!)  However I absolutely loved rodeo and everything that came with it!  I graduated high school in 1995 and moved to Torrington, WY to rodeo for Eastern Wyoming College.  At this point, my eyes were focused on pursueing the PRCA and not much else.  I had pretty much come to the conclusion that I just wouldn't ever be good enough to please God.  I believed that He had given me whatever raw talent and ability I had but it was now entirely up to me to do whatever I could with that on my own.  First year of college didn't go great so I took the next year off so i would have more time to work and ride broncs.  From there I was offered an opportunity to go rodeo for Fort Scott, KS and since Coach Luthi was one of my biggest heroes I jumped at the chance.  I bought my permit and won money at my first pro show entered - then I won the permit buckle at Sidney, Iowa on an NFR horse of Cervi's -- I was fired up!!!


Then I tore my knee up pretty bad and had to go through some reconstructive surgery on it - the sports medicine docs doubted how well it would ever heal, but I would go through rehab to get released so I could enter up and then tear it again.  Three years in a row I had knee surgery and I was starting to feel it -physically of course but the bills were also stacking up and not being able to get healthy and what that might mean got to fighting with my thinking too.  The greatest thing that happened through this time was Lyle Sankey asked me to work bronc riding schools with him.  Since I was hurt and not traveling it was a perfect way to keep focused and keep my mind surrounded with positive people while staying in the middle of rodeo.  I had been a student in Lyle's schools for years - Rick Carpenter had worked with Lyle and was the biggest influence of how I rode.  Lyle taught me the business side of the sport during this time, how to think, how to travel, where to enter, how to promote yourself, and he exposed me to an image of God that I had never seen before.  It was in this environment that God wasnt just a judge who was always keeping you down because you weren't good enough for Him.  It would take a few more years for this to have its full effect on me but I am forever thankful to Lyle Sankey for the investment he made in a hurt kid that didn't know what he was missing.  He planted a seed that was more significant than anyone will ever know.


I had finished up my college career at the University of TN Martin and was still living inTN - mostly going to circuit rodeos managing the injuries best I could.  There was a pretty girl named Connie I had been wanting to hook up with for o, about six years! (we met in college when I was first in WY and had kept in touch).  She lived in Nebraska and so for my July 4th run in 2001 I decided to head that direction.  I worked my way up from Tennessee north - I drew real good in Mt Pleasant, Michigan on a J-J stud horse and won it with an 85 but then got run over by the pick-up horse.  It messed up my back pretty good but I kept on.  Loaded up with muscle relaxers and motrin I still could barely carry my saddle.  I rode up in Crawford, NE and then stopped by to see Connie.  I was entered in one more in Kansas City for the fourth but since I was kinda beat up she said if I wanted to take some time off I could come back and hang out in NE, so thats what I did.


I had already qualified for the circuit finals that winter and that would end up being my last season riding broncs.  We were married the following spring and she was just a greater priority to me than trying to squeeze another year or two out of my body.


So I started a ranch job and Connie and I began building a horse training business.  I put the exact same principles I had competed with into this new life.  We worked hard and when things didnt work out quite right then I just worked harder the next time.


Years rolled along and our business grew - we aquired more stuff.  I worked a variety of trades because like with rodeo, I was willing to do whatever it took.  However stress grew, and we were both getting tired of the pace we had set.  Pretty soon it seemed that Connie was disappointed with me and I would get disappointed with her because we were both making sacrifices individually but not getting filled back up again.  As much as I had previously put into rodeo, I was putting more into Connie (I thought).  She was the most important treasure in my world and I tried to provide her with everything I thought she would like, but she was becoming less and less happy with me - it had become an ultimate frustration.  I was starting to wonder if we would survive - I just couldn't understand how I could give something or in this case someone my all and it not be enough.  I had met a guy at the tack store who told me about their church and how the pastor was kinda a cowboy (he roped) ha! So as a last resort I told Connie that we should go to church.  She agreed and our worlds were in for a change!


I heard the Bible taught as the ultimate source of truth -- not relying on someone's own opinion or interpretation but relying on the Word of God to be enough.  I learned how God did not just give us talents and abilities and then sit back with His arms crossed to see what we would do with them, constantly judging our weaknesses.  Instead I became aware that He had a plan for me and He created me for this purpose and the ultimate end of that purpose is to know Him and if I was willing to let Him lead than He would take me as His own son and guide me along the way no matter what may come up.  See, my gift was not just that I was given a life to live on earth, but my gift is that the God who created this earth, wanted me to know Him!  And what better way to get to know someone than to live every step of life with them.  I am a simple thinker so I looked in the Bible where Jesus was asked what the greatest commamdment was - I thought the "Greatest Commandment" would be a significant place to start!  I read Mark 12:30 where Jusus said "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength."  This sounded pretty complete to me -- He said ALL, not even most but ALL!  I read the Bible and read and read and realized that what I had been doing was making my wife my god.  I did everything for her, but she was designed the same as me, which meant I could never be enough for her - only the God who created her could fill that role.  And this same God who desired to call us His children, demanded that only He could have my all.  I went to my wife and told her that she could not longer be the most important thing in my life - I must give that to God.  However if I was obedient to God than I could finally be the husband that He had designed for her.  God is the master and designer of relationships - His way is the best way.  It is sad that even in our church culture so many people think it an admirable thing to put your spouse first or put your family first - I mean it sounds good!  But then God cannot be first, and only when He is our number one priority can we truly experience the blessings of other relationships.  


I know this is pretty wordy - but Scott asked me to share how I got to where I am now and without looking at what happened in my life -looking at the areas that I gave all my heart, soul, mind, and strength - without that I dont know how to explain the change that took place when I finally gave Him my all.  Now God is enough for me and He is enough for my wife, and we are able to use His strength to support and encourage each other.  I can now lead her only because I am following Him.  


I dont even know how Scott plans to use this story (another cool side note is I met Scott while coaching bronc riding with Lyle) I don't know who will be reading it - but if I could be at all encouraging to someone who knows how to lay it all on the line for the great sport of rodeo, then we may just have something in common.  I want to encourage you to go to the source - pray that God would teach you what He wants you to learn and than read His Word.


I presently pastor a Cowboy Church in Wray, CO with my main focus being on the youth and God is constantly providing for Connie and myself with whatever we may need.  I still work a job to cover living expenses and we still train and market performance horses.  


My prayer is that this will land in front of someone who may be encouraged by a piece of our story.  God bless!

Joel Compton


since Coach Luthi was one of my biggest heroes I jumped at the chance.  I bought my permit and won money at my first pro show entered - then I won the permit buckle at Sidney, Iowa on an NFR horse of Cervi's -- I was fired up!!!


Then I tore my knee up pretty bad and had to go through some reconstructive surgery on it - the sports medicine docs doubted how well it would ever heal, but I would go through rehab to get released so I could enter up and then tear it again.  Three years in a row I had knee surgery and I was starting to feel it -physically of course but the bills were also stacking up and not being able to get healthy and what that might mean got to fighting with my thinking too.  The greatest thing that happened through this time was Lyle Sankey asked me to work bronc riding schools with him.  Since I was hurt and not traveling it was a perfect way to keep focused and keep my mind surrounded with positive people while staying in the middle of rodeo.  I had been a student in Lyle's schools for years - Rick Carpenter had worked with Lyle and was the biggest influence of how I rode.  Lyle taught me the business side of the sport during this time, how to think, how to travel, where to enter, how to promote yourself, and he exposed me to an image of God that I had never seen before.  It was in this environment that God wasnt just a judge who was always keeping you down because you weren't good enough for Him.  It would take a few more years for this to have its full effect on me but I am forever thankful to Lyle Sankey for the investment he made in a hurt kid that didn't know what he was missing.  He planted a seed that was more significant than anyone will ever know.


I had finished up my college career at the University of TN Martin and was still living inTN - mostly going to circuit rodeos managing the injuries best I could.  There was a pretty girl named Connie I had been wanting to hook up with for o, about six years! (we met in college when I was first in WY and had kept in touch).  She lived in Nebraska and so for my July 4th run in 2001 I decided to head that direction.  I worked my way up from Tennessee north - I drew real good in Mt Pleasant, Michigan on a J-J stud horse and won it with an 85 but then got run over by the pick-up horse.  It messed up my back pretty good but I kept on.  Loaded up with muscle relaxers and motrin I still could barely carry my saddle.  I rode up in Crawford, NE and then stopped by to see Connie.  I was entered in one more in Kansas City for the fourth but since I was kinda beat up she said if I wanted to take some time off I could come back and hang out in NE, so thats what I did.


I had already qualified for the circuit finals that winter and that would end up being my last season riding broncs.  We were married the following spring and she was just a greater priority to me than trying to squeeze another year or two out of my body.


So I started a ranch job and Connie and I began building a horse training business.  I put the exact same principles I had competed with into this new life.  We worked hard and when things didnt work out quite right then I just worked harder the next time.


Years rolled along and our business grew - we aquired more stuff.  I worked a variety of trades because like with rodeo, I was willing to do whatever it took.  However stress grew, and we were both getting tired of the pace we had set.  Pretty soon it seemed that Connie was disappointed with me and I would get disappointed with her because we were both making sacrifices individually but not getting filled back up again.  As much as I had previously put into rodeo, I was putting more into Connie (I thought).  She was the most important treasure in my world and I tried to provide her with everything I thought she would like, but she was becoming less and less happy with me - it had become an ultimate frustration.  I was starting to wonder if we would survive - I just couldn't understand how I could give something or in this case someone my all and it not be enough.  I had met a guy at the tack store who told me about their church and how the pastor was kinda a cowboy (he roped) ha! So as a last resort I told Connie that we should go to church.  She agreed and our worlds were in for a change!


I heard the Bible taught as the ultimate source of truth -- not relying on someone's own opinion or interpretation but relying on the Word of God to be enough.  I learned how God did not just give us talents and abilities and then sit back with His arms crossed to see what we would do with them, constantly judging our weaknesses.  Instead I became aware that He had a plan for me and He created me for this purpose and the ultimate end of that purpose is to know Him and if I was willing to let Him lead than He would take me as His own son and guide me along the way no matter what may come up.  See, my gift was not just that I was given a life to live on earth, but my gift is that the God who created this earth, wanted me to know Him!  And what better way to get to know someone than to live every step of life with them.  I am a simple thinker so I looked in the Bible where Jesus was asked what the greatest commamdment was - I thought the "Greatest Commandment" would be a significant place to start!  I read Mark 12:30 where Jusus said "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength."  This sounded pretty complete to me -- He said ALL, not even most but ALL!  I read the Bible and read and read and realized that what I had been doing was making my wife my god.  I did everything for her, but she was designed the same as me, which meant I could never be enough for her - only the God who created her could fill that role.  And this same God who desired to call us His children, demanded that only He could have my all.  I went to my wife and told her that she could not longer be the most important thing in my life - I must give that to God.  However if I was obedient to God than I could finally be the husband that He had designed for her.  God is the master and designer of relationships - His way is the best way.  It is sad that even in our church culture so many people think it an admirable thing to put your spouse first or put your family first - I mean it sounds good!  But then God cannot be first, and only when He is our number one priority can we truly experience the blessings of other relationships.  


I know this is pretty wordy - but Scott asked me to share how I got to where I am now and without looking at what happened in my life -looking at the areas that I gave all my heart, soul, mind, and strength - without that I dont know how to explain the change that took place when I finally gave Him my all.  Now God is enough for me and He is enough for my wife, and we are able to use His strength to support and encourage each other.  I can now lead her only because I am following Him.  


I dont even know how Scott plans to use this story (another cool side note is I met Scott while coaching bronc riding with Lyle) I don't know who will be reading it - but if I could be at all encouraging to someone who knows how to lay it all on the line for the great sport of rodeo, then we may just have something in common.  I want to encourage you to go to the source - pray that God would teach you what He wants you to learn and than read His Word.


I presently pastor a Cowboy Church in Wray, CO with my main focus being on the youth and God is constantly providing for Connie and myself with whatever we may need.  I still work a job to cover living expenses and we still train and market performance horses.  


My prayer is that this will land in front of someone who may be encouraged by a piece of our story.  God bless!