Your Christian Cowboy Resource

Howdy! My name’s Josh McCarthy and I compete in saddle bronc riding in the PRCA and I’m the youngest of five from northeastern Wisconsin.  I grew up in a Christian home and went to church every Sunday. I accepted Christ into my life when I was little but I didn’t really understand what it meant to be a follower of Christ.   

When I got into high school I went to church and youth group and got really good at “playing the part,” but any other time of the week my faith didn’t affect my life at all. During that time, some pretty big things happened: my brother started riding bulls and competing on a local circuit, and I got started riding saddle broncs. I grew up going to rodeos and had a real passion for it, but in those early years I focused on myself and didn’t honor God with my life or my competing in rodeo.

I’d pray before my ride and attend cowboy church and thought I was good to go, but boy did God open my eyes about my faith the past couple years.  

One thing that still sticks in my mind was when I went to upstate New York and worked at a Christian camp teaching campers how to ride horses. I had a bible study with one of my coworkers and we were talking when he said, “I don’t doubt you believe but you don’t take it seriously.” I kinda blew that off, being a dumb kid, but it stuck in my head. Over the summer last year, God started doing a lot of work in my life. I started competing in PRCA rodeos with my brothers, and throughout the rodeo season God just kept putting people in my life that got me thinking about my faith.

I met Chris Watson, the vice-president of CLG, who had a rodeo ministry. We became friends and he’s been encouraging me in my faith. Another big impact was from saddle bronc rider, Doug Aldridge, and his wife. He really lives out his faith and we could talk about God, faith in Christ, and rodeo which was exactly what I needed. Closer to the end of the summer I attended a cowboy church in Iowa which was led by Cory Wall. The biggest part of that sermon, which I still think about, is when he said, “sometimes you’re the only Bible people read.”

Josh didn’t take his faith seriously,

but now he doesn’t miss the mark-out

Josh McCarthy, Sturgeon Bay, WI

After that Sunday I really got to thinking about my faith and that I needed to take it seriously since God took it so seriously He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to pay for my sins. During that time I recommitted my life to God.

I’ll be honest my life isn’t perfect. After I accepted Christ I still fail, struggle and I’m still a sinner but I keep reminding myself of 2 Corinthians, “Therefore, If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

It’s a great reminder of God’s promise that through the Holy Spirit He is working on making us to be more like Christ, and that the old sinful person we were doesn’t control us anymore. As this year’s rodeo season comes into full swing, God is really helping me to look at rodeo and this lifestyle as a way to show who He is and spread the Gospel.

Some things God has blessed me with are great brothers/traveling partners that always have my back, my family and my home church: their prayers and support are a great blessing. If you take anything away from my story, I hope it’s this: if you put your trust in God and accept His gift of grace, through His son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior, God will be with you every step of the way. I spent plenty of time going the wrong way but God never gave up on me and opened my eyes to the one thing that matters, Jesus Christ.

My buddy Doug Aldridge once told me, “your spiritual walk and bronc riding are a lot alike,. In bronc riding, you can try all you want and make the best ride but if you miss your mark-out, that ride doesn’t amount to anything. Just like our spiritual, walk you can think you’re a good person but if you don’t have Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior it won’t amount to anything. Just like the mark-out is the most important part in bronc riding, Jesus Christ has to be the most important part of our lives.”

He is the way the truth and the life.