Sami O’Connell: The woman beside an RAM NCFR champion
Doesn’t the saying go, “Behind every great man, stands a great woman?” In this case, we totally agree.
In her free time, Sami enjoys barrel racing, traveling with her husband, spending time with family and friends, and shopping. Let’s be honest ladies… who doesn’t like to shop! Last December, the RAM NCFR committee was at Cowboy Christmas hosting the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo booth, and Tim, our 2016 RAM NCFR champion, was with us signing autographs. When Tim finished with his autograph session, he said, “I’ve got to go rescue my wife. She’s apparently buying $7,000 worth of new furniture. I need to get her out of here and quick.”
Sami and Tim first met in 2013. That August, they began dating and were married in October 2015. “Being the wife of a rodeo world champion is not all glitz and glam, despite what others may think,” says Sami. During any given year, Sami takes care of their home in Marshall, Missouri, while her husband travels all over the US and Canada competing in a career he loves. Though it’s challenging at times with him gone, Sami is fully supportive. She spends much of her time surrounded by great people like the Hayob family. “I’ve got a really great support system while Tim is away. Tim and I communicate all the time which helps, a common misconception about cowboys, especially the rough stock guys get a bad reputation. In reality, though, most of the guys who are married and competing at a high level don’t stick around after the rodeos. They typically leave before the rodeo is over, jump in the truck or on a plane to catch the next [rodeo].”
Sami did not grow up in a traveling rodeo family. She’s been learning to adapt to this sort of lifestyle. Tim grew up in a family that was always on the road attending or participating in different rodeos. His father was a pickup man who traveled all the time.
Being a newlywed and a few months pregnant, you might wonder what goes through Sami’s mind when her husband heads out to his next rodeo. “I worry about his safety, even more so now because I am pregnant. The accidents this year have been eye-opening. I am also a fixer. Tim is such a hard worker, and he really gets in his head when he wants something so bad. I often have to be there to remind him, ‘Let go, let God.’”
Since her husband has become a world champion, their lives have been a little different than usual. “It’s been a very different experience. It’s like you admire these world champion barrel racers you’ve always looked up to and then one day it becomes your own husband. It has been a blessing of a year for us both. It has been awesome to watch him on this journey.” After Tim won the world title last December in Las Vegas, Sami said they both received a ton of outreach from rodeo fans, fellow competitors and the support of many. “After he won the title, almost all the bareback riders he competed against wanted to hang out with us. I’ve never seen this in years past. Usually, your competitors don’t do that but, in this case, they all did. It was very neat. That night I ordered 12 pizzas, and we all celebrated at our hotel, simply eating pizza and hanging out at the bar.”
Needless to say, last year was a heck of a year for these two, and it sounds like it’s only going to get better with a new baby on the way. Tim will be competing in the upcoming Great Lakes Circuit Finals Rodeo in hopes to make a return visit to capture the bareback national champion title at the 2018 RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo. Sami’s due date is March 7, 2018. If Tim qualifies for the next RAM NCFR, he still plans to compete in April. We sure hope he brings that little bundle of joy!
We wish Tim and Sami the best of luck the rest of this rodeo season and all the warmest wishes for the arrival of your new baby.