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Cowgirl Communications with Katie Dressler
Story ID:8409  
Date Posted:  June 14, 2017

by Katie Dressler, VP of Communications and Awareness

Last year in honor of Father’s Day, I talked about the wisdom my cowboy dad taught me. For the quiet guy that he is, little does he know, sometimes actions speak louder than words. After all, some of the best men I know and have had the privilege of knowing are cowboys: my grandpas, uncles, cousins, neighbors and most importantly my dad and brother. Yes, my heroes have always been cowboys. So again this year, my article is dedicated to my dad.

Age is Just a Number. Two years ago, my dad Kelly and my uncle Kelly were found on the pasture, holding down a calf for branding. While most of us laughed, and jokes were cracked about wrestling calves at their age, in the end, they got the job done in nice fashion and it was fun to watch!

 Age is just a number. The same is for us in our careers. No matter how old or young you are, it doesn’t mean you’re any less smart or capable in accomplishing a task. Recently, I have been struggling with my first and third barrel when competing at local barrel racings. As I watched my video, I could tell I’m losing time due to rider error. A few weeks ago, when I was home, I sought out advice from my dad. Although the man is a saddle bronc rider and roper, he’s been around rodeo enough to know a thing or two about barrel racing. As he watched the video, he pointed out a few areas where I can improve. And he was right. Since then, I’ve been working on drills to improve my errors and they’ve been working. I could’ve looked elsewhere for barrel advice from people my age, because my dad has been out of rodeo for a while, but that, and his age doesn’t mean he didn’t know how to help me. We shouldn’t be afraid to learn from those seasoned employees at our office, and vice versa. Don’t let a young person’s drive or push for change prevent you from asking them for help. By working together, we can grow and learn more each day. In the end, you can do anything you set your mind to, no matter what your age or your background.

You Don’t Have to Spend a Bunch of Money to Win Money. The rodeo world is an expensive one, there’s no doubt about that. People spend money left and right, to compete in the sport we love. Sometimes too much money. My dad and mom always made sure I had a good horse to run barrels, poles, rope off, and even do 4-H. Typically however, this horse wasn’t the most expensive horse out there. Truth be told, some of the best ranch horses we’ve ever had, that have since gone on to greener pastures and earned their oats, we’re not very expensive horses. They were horses that were affordable, trust worthy (most times), and that could be a multi-use horse. My dad often joked that we “couldn’t and didn’t have an expensive barrel horse just standing around”. My horse went from being rode in the arena, to working cows the next day out in the pasture. In addition, I had to work with my horse to make it useable in all aspects of the ranch and rodeo area. This taught me the value of hard work and that not everything in life is accomplished just by spending money.

Sure, I’m an advocate that you need to pay your employees well and give them good or reasonable benefits, but the better question is, how are you treating them? Is the morale in your office good? Are you building your employees up and working with them to make them the best they can be? Like our ranch horses, you need to take time to work with your employees, and members. Invest the time and dedication into helping them improve not only themselves, but the work they do. That in turn will help your business.

In addition, when it comes to marketing at your credit unions, you can’t always believe the more money you spend, the better it will be. Now I’m not saying the cheapest option is always best, because it’s not. But if you have a certain budget, and need to stay around that amount, find ways to be creative, and use your resources to the best of your ability. Moral of the story: My family has never been rich with money, and that’s perfectly okay. But we are rich in faith, love, laughter, opportunities, talents and blessings, and that’s what matters. You don’t have to spend a bunch of money to reap the benefits.

Photo:Katie’s dad and brother the first time they roped together. They won first place. Kelly is heading off Roany, a horse that still is used at the ranch.

You Cannot Change the Cards You’re Dealt, Just How You Play the Hand. My dad is a card shark, a competitive one at that. Yes, pinochle with the Dressler clan at Christmas time gets cut throat. But not always is he dealt the perfect pinochle hand. Much like in life, we don’t all come from perfect backgrounds or given ideal circumstances when faced in a situation.

Somedays, it’s safe to say, we all wish we had someone else’s life. We wish we had their money, fame, talents, etc. The list goes on. Life doesn’t work that way though. Life’s hard, there’s no doubt. But dad and other family members taught me, that it doesn’t mean you can give up. Years like the one we’re having, with undeniable drought, can take a toll on ag families. It’s happened before. The story goes, that my great grandpa carried around a gravel check in his pocket for months deciding if he should put the money back into the ranch and make a gamble, or use it to buy a house, sell the ranch and move to town. He obviously decided to gamble, and keep the ranch. We all experience hardships in life, death of family or friends, some of us may lose our jobs, or have a terrible year at your credit union with revenue lost. That doesn’t mean you can give up. You must keep working hard, pushing forward and hoping for the best. Those challenging parts of life are what make you stronger. When you want to throw in the towel, ask yourself, how you’d feel later without that job, special person in your life, or hobby you’re used to doing. Remember, tough times don’t last, tough people do.

All in a Hard Day’s Work. There’s no doubt, I wouldn’t be the individual I am today, without lessons from my parents. There was no saying “I’m bored” or days spent sitting around if you were around my parents. They weren’t scared to give me responsibility. If the sun was shining, work was to be done, whether that was hauling square bales, carrying buckets of feed to the calves or cleaning the barns. Even when I wanted to roll my eyes at some of the tasks I was given, and tempers might have flared when working cows, as a ranch kid, you are taught that in the end, hard work pays off. We also were taught to do our best in that work we were doing. If we’d simply give our all, do our best in every task we face, we can better ourselves in our career, inspire others, win awards, stand out from the crowd, develop new skills and more! If you’re not doing your best, then you’re operating at a lower level. You’re compromising your standards, and setting yourself up to accept substandard performances. Every day, in every aspect of our lives we have the option of putting in a hard day’s work, and doing our best work or something less. Remember, you get out only what you put in.

I’ve said it before. The number of lessons I’ve learned from both my parents is endless. Words aren’t enough to describe my appreciation to them both, but since Father’s Day is just around the corner, especially to my cowboy dad - Thank you for taking time to dance with me when the Beach Boys are played at weddings, sitting down to help me with my barrel runs, telling me your rodeo stories that make me laugh, teaching me how to work cows and making it fun, all the numerous lessons you’ve taught me, and simply for all you’ve done. 

Katie and her dad dancing to “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys at a wedding last fall.