Ten Questions With...
Just 34 years young, Florida State's Osceola and Renegade program was recently tabbed college football's greatest tradition in a nationwide poll conducted by ESPN SportsNation and EA Sports. The responsibility of portraying the Seminole leader falls on the sturdy shoulders of FSU junior Drake Anderson, who is in his third season riding as Osceola.
(Video by Florida State University Office of University Communications)
- How excited were you to hear about winning the best tradition contest?
What we are trying to convey and represent is the Seminole nation, the unconquered spirit of the tribe. We try not to bring attention to ourselves. We come there, we do our job and we go home. We try to keep it simple and do it in a respectful manner. We just appreciate that the fans got behind us the way that they did.
- What do you enjoy about what you do?
I grew up riding horses, so for me to get a chance to come to a great school like FSU and have a chance to ride horses and have it be a part of my daily routine is just amazing for me. I enjoy everything about game days — all the work and everything that goes into it. It is a joy for me to be part of the program and be a part of the heritage.
- The pressure on you is almost like an athlete on game day. Do you feel it?
I feel like it sometimes. There is a lot of practice, sweat and blood that goes into it, but everything about the program — from riding horses on a daily basis to cleaning stalls to washing horses and anything like that — is part of the program and part of what goes into this great tradition.
- How has the experience of being Osceola compared to your expectations?
It never ceases to exceed my expectations. I grew up unfamiliar with a lot of the FSU traditions. I knew Bobby Bowden and the team of sorts, but I was not a huge college football follower. So coming into this I did not know what I was getting into. It still astounds me on a daily basis how important and how honorable it is to be part of this tradition.
- How does bareback riding compare to the cutting horse experience to which you are accustomed?
An old cowboy that I rode for gave me a horse and said, “Here's a horse, here's a bridle.”
I said, “Where's the saddle?” and he said, “You don't get a saddle.”
I actually started off riding for probably two or four months without a saddle at all, because as you are developing riding skills, if you do it first without a saddle, then you develop a sense of balance and a sense of the core skills.
- You are very tall. Is that an advantage or a disadvantage in riding?
In this type of riding, it is a good advantage. Being tall and having long legs gives me a lot of leverage around the horse. I can wrap my legs around his body easier than some people can.
- Who is Drake Anderson?
My major is business, and I think I am going to go into marketing. I grew up in a small town in Alabama called Jemison. It had two red lights, a McDonald's and a Piggly Wiggly. That's about all there was in Jemison. I graduated with a class of 110 people, and I have been riding horses since I was 10. That's all I have ever wanted to do is ride horses and be a cowboy. That's what I did during my high school career — played football and rodeoed.
- But you ended up being an Indian?
I went from being a Cowboy to an Indian.
- Allen Durham, who will serve as chairman of the Alumni Association's National Board of Directors next year, is the owner of the program now, and of course he rode for four years. What is the best advice he has given you about this role?
He told me there is a lot of importance that comes with this role but to not allow this to be the biggest part of my career here. He said that this is an instrumental part of your college career and your life now but take this and move on with it.
“Don't let it be the biggest thing you have done. Go on and have a successful career and a family.”
- When you look back on the experience, what do you think you will appreciate the most?
I think I will appreciate the discipline it has given me. I ride a lot. The horses are stationed about an hour outside of town for security reasons. During the summer I ride between three and four days a week — sometimes five days a week. During the fall, I am up there at the farm two or three times during the week and on the weekends also. It is a large time commitment. It is instrumental for my future going on just to be able to know how to manage time, get everything done with schoolwork that I need to, balance my social life and put the dedication I need to with the program.