My name is Dale Hirschman, I've been involved in the sport of rodeo ever since I can remember. I entered my first rodeo at 8 years of age, although years before that I played rodeo. I rode a few times between the ages of 8-12 in miniature rodeos and then started up again at the age of 15 in high school Rodeos. During high school, I competed in the three rough stock events: Bareback, Saddle Bronc, and Bull Riding. With the completion of high school I attended (SWOSU) Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, OK on a rodeo scholarship. While in college I filled my Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Permit and earned full membership in the PRCA. I qualified 5 times for the Prairie Circuit Finals in the Bareback Riding during my ten years in the PRCA.
In 1991 Sarah and I got married. My desire was to stay closer to home so I began rodeoing in "open" rodeos. I joined the Texas Cowboy Rodeo Association and have since qualified for their Finals in the Bareback Riding five times.
I was raised in a Christian family and I've gone to church since my birth. However, it wasn't until the age of 14 or 15 that I actually received Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. For the next several years I lived a life of high moral standards but my relationship with Jesus didn't grow much. While in college a couple of Football players took interest in my life and showed me the love of Jesus. Through them I got involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and began sharing my testimony at various high school FCA meetings. With a new desire to follow Jesus more, I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. My Christian walk took some major steps forward at that time as the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the Bible, the love that Jesus has for us, and His desire for us to have an abundant life.
Clay Means of PSU started holding cowboy church services at the college rodeos at the same time as I was growing in my Christian walk. Clay and I graduated from college at the same time. With him moving back to New Mexico I stepped in and started holding the cowboy church services at the college rodeos, and have ever since 1980.
As a young Christian I took whatever scriptures that I knew (not many at the time) and tried to apply them to my life. Even in my early rodeo career I had always maintained my high moral standards but as my relationship with Jesus grew I tried even more to acknowledge Him (Pro. 3:6; Matt. 10:32-33) and bring Glory to God (John 17:1; Ps. 29:2)!
Just as God told Joshua to go forth and possess the land (Joshua 1:2-3) I believe that we as Christians should not take a backseat but go forth and "possess the land that God has given us" (Wherever we are: school, work, rodeo, etc.). We can do this by letting our light shine so others will see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven!
I never paid the price to try to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo, however, I do know what its like to rodeo for a far greater purpose: JESUS CHRIST! (Mark 8:36). The feeling of rodeoing to represent Jesus and bring God glory is indescribable! My main goal for rodeo as well as life has been and will be to do it with an eternal purpose, to pursue the ultimate challenge of following Jesus daily!