Sitting on the back of a bull I wondered to myself, "What am I
doing here?" Little did I know right then, but if you've ever
read "Foot prints in the Sand" you'll understand...it was
all part of Gods' plan for me.
I was born into a Christian family, broken up by divorce. My
grandparents still managed to instill The Word into me at a
young age. I still remember reading Matt. 7:7-8 as a child.
During my 6th, 7th, and 8th grade years of school I attended
church with two friends. I didn't go regularly, but a foundation
was built. During high school I didn't keep contact with those
friends and I started going down the wrong path. Started hanging
out with some skaters. By the end of my sophomore year I had
smoked dope and did acid once. Once was enough to scare me straight
from doing hard drugs. Thank God he let me live through that
experience. By my senior year I was going to 18 and over dance
clubs. I started going down that wrong path further. I wasn't
happy unless I came home with 2 or 3 girls phone numbers. By the
time I was 21 drinking was nothing new to me. It was just legal
know. I was drinking it up and being the life of the party (stupid
was more like it). Driving home was no big deal, I had autopilot.
I thank God I never got into an accident and killed anyone. I know
God had his hand over me protecting me, but that gave me no excuse
for doing that, doesn't give anyone an excuse.
In 1993 I started the police academy. My mother went to be with God
Dec. 13th, 1993. Six months earlier she was diagnosed with cancer,
3 tumors in the brain. It was a blessing she went quick, but I didn't
look at it like that back then. You could say I got upset with God.
How could he take my mother? Even though she had been a smoker for
years. He had already taken my grandmother (on my moms' side) and one
of my favorite instructors. I remember saying I wished mom would go
quickly so she didn't have to suffer, that's why I say it's was a
blessing now. My mother was a strong person full of life. She overcame
an addiction to alcohol and opened a group home for children. It didn't
stop with my mother though. A good friend I worked with committed
suicide and another friend was killed at a security job. Then my
grandparents on my fathers’ side passed away. My grandfather was a
retired minister in Santa Cruz and had been a missionary in India when
he was younger. How could God take them from me I wondered? Everyone I
loved was being taken away from me (so I thought then, I know differently
now...thanks Tony Shoulders).
God tried to reach out to me. My sister gave me a book called "Embraced
by The Light". That didn't work so a girl I was seeing gave me "Saved by
The Light". I didn't hear his calling. Nice stories and all, but I still
wasn't ready to accept God. He then sent a Christian girl my way, but that
didn't work. I was to wrap up in going to the bars and drinking. I left
for the military and had a 16-day career. I came down with a kidney
infection and phneomia. I had a temp. Of 104.6. Boy did God reach out to
me there. I woke up one morning crying with joy. I had a sense of peace
and tranquility and joy. Everything was real clear. I called my sister
and told her I had met God and saw mom and my grandparents (both sets).
They were all okay and in heaven. She said I was dreaming it because of
the books and put doubt in my mind. Well whether or not I was a near
death experience I know God was reaching out to me and letting me know
that my family is okay. I came home and called up that old Christian
friend girl of mine. I didn't go to church or read the bible. Instead
I was going out to the bars again and getting drunk.
I went back to my old job-chauffeuring inmates around the state for a
private company. I was partnered up with a Christian guy that became a
good friend. He would share the word with me and had me listening to
Christian talk shows. Heck I even started reading the Bible while he
drove. I even went to church with him. I was still going to the bars
even though he said I'd never find what I was looking for in there. I
figured I'd never find a girl in a church. What would a nice girl
want with a guy like me?
He quit and I soon stopped reading the bible and the conviction when I
saw him was too much so I stopped hanging out with him.
I started a new job in a new field, welding, Law enforcement wasn't for
me, I didn't have that of a cold heart anymore, but it wasn't warm
either. I was sent to Los Angeles to do some work. I again met a Christian
girl out dancing. God was reaching out to me one more time. A great
friendship started. Even though we both would have liked it we knew there
wouldn't be anything more than just a friendship because of the distance.
I started dating a girl up here that fit my lifestyle. I was happy. They
both knew of each other. Well my birthday came around and my friend from
L.A. came up to visit. My drinking ruined a great relationship and
friendship in one night. I've regretted it since that night because
there's no taking back the hurt that was done that night even though
God has forgiven me.
I started working for the company I'm working for now. Before I even
started I was told how the owners were Christians and some of the people
working there were too. I though, "That's cool" then didn't give it a
second thought. My first morning there I was invited to a prayer meeting
before work they had each day. I declined and laughed behind their backs
when someone made a joke, but God was working on me cause I wanted to
Ever since I was a young boy and my Brother and his friends would ride
bulls in our back pens, I wanted to be a rodeo clown. I love to make
people laugh and see them smile. Plus as a clown you get to hang put
with all the kids. I relate to them better anyways. My senior year I
was the high school mascot. When I was in the academy I started hanging
out with the cowboy group and going to the bars with them. I soon started
wearing a hats and boots again. I had grown up on 10 acres raising and
boarding cattle. But I didn't like it and rebelled against being a cowboy.
But the dream of being a rodeo clown was still there.
I started looking for my brothers' old friend Tony Carvalho. I had heard
he was a clown and could help me get started. Our paths crossed three
times. Once I was to drunk to remember. The next it was just in passing
and we said our hellos and that was about it. And once again we were at
the same rodeo, but didn't run into each other. Well before I got on this
bull I had no clue why I was on, the friend that took me there wanted me
to meet someone. Sure enough it was Tony, the guy I had been looking for
the last six years. He introduced me to his friend Tommy Wilson, Jr. I
didn't know it then, but these two had a big part in "turning me back"
(Acts 26:18). It was a big comfort to know Tony was there. A peace was
over me even though I didn't show it sitting on that bulls back. Everyone
kept saying "Breath". I don't know why.
Well that chute opened...That bull went one way and I went the other. I
landed right on my buttocks. Boy was my tailbone sore. As I was talking
to Tony he started telling me where he had been and how he had turned his
life to Jesus. Just witnessing to me. (Hmmmm. Someone I respected and
still do). As I left I turned to Tony and said, "Good bye and God bless.”
I thought to myself, "Where'd that come from?”
Two weeks later I went to G.T. Petersons' bull riding school not even
thinking about the bullfighting. Tommy and Tony were doing the instructing.
The first day was on the mechanical bull, which made me pretty sore. The
second day I had to work until noon. I went back out, but didn't get on
any bulls. I didn't know exactly why I was there. Tony and I just sorta
talked why they watched bull-riding videos. They put in a Scott Mendes
video he had just sent. Sitting on a hay bail inside G.T.s' barn I sat
and repeated the sinners’ prater along with Scott Mendes. (Thanks for
overnighting that tape Scott).
You know that empty spot inside you that you always try and fill. You're
never completely happy no matter what you do. Well that empty spot gets
filled as soon as I opened my heart and invite Jesus in. The Holy Spirit
just moved right in and filled it. That's what was missing.
There are a lot of things I've done and am not proud of. I have a lot of
regrets, but I know Jesus died on the cross for me and washed away all my
sins with his blood. Living for Christ is not all a bed of roses, but it's
a lot better than not having Jesus. I have been blessed in many ways. I've
met some awesome Christian people. I'm proud to say that I now call Tony
and Tommy my good friends. A lot of doors are being opened to me that are
helping me with my rodeo clowning. One was when I was up in Angles Camp,
Ca when I started talking with Martin Kiff, a PRCA clown. He invited me
back to Prescott, AZ for the July 4th rodeo. I of course accepted. I
later discovered he was a Christian. To cool. I met Tony Shoulders
before I left; I had wanted to meet him since I heard so many wonderful
stories about him. I thought I was going to have to wait till our Bull
riding Showdown at our church in Sept. (my first real rodeo I'm going to
clown). He told me how Rob Smetts had received Jesus into his life. I
started to realize I was going to Prescott for a reason. Tony introduced
me to a friend of his named Todd. He became a good friend to me and a
blessing. I learned a lot about childlike faith and being bold while I
was there. I met awesome Christian people while I was back there. Like
Rob Smetts, Marty Marteck, Harry Vold, Paul Scholtz, Todd, the list goes
on. I helped Martin with his skits (only messed one up) and got to be
in the parade. It was a great experience and I thank God for allowing
me to go.
I do cowboy protection and clowning. Rob Smetts can have that freestyle
stuff. I'm not a macho guy, so you can just call me a rodeo clown,
"Everride" if you will please, and I'll still jump in front of a bull
for you. Just remember...I may save your hide, but Jesus will
save your soul.
God Bless You,
Willie "Everride" Knoernschild
John 15:13; Matt. 7:7-8