Tuesday, June 30, 2015

In Osceola 13's Own Words

Halley gives hours of work and dedication as ‘Chief Osceola’
By Dave Fiore

As a general rule, it is probably not a great idea to choose your college based on its symbol, but for Josh Halley, it seems to have worked out pretty well.

The senior accounting and finance major from Chipley not only admired FSU’s use of Seminole symbolism, but last year, became the 13th person to don the authentic Seminole dress as Chief Osceola and ride the legendary Renegade.

Originally from Tallahassee, Halley has attended Florida State football games his entire life, but it was not until his senior year of high school that he considered using his riding experience for anything but having fun with his friends.
“I started watching the horse before the game, and my parents encouraged me to go over and talk with the team,” Halley said

“Mr. (Allen) Durham introduced me around, and they mailed me an application.” Durham, son of program founder Bill Durham and a former Osceola himself, said earning the privilege of riding Renegade on Saturdays is a tough task. “First, there is the application process,” Durham said. “They must be an excellent equestrian, be a good student (3.0 GPA or better) and have the heart and desire to truly understand the importance and significance of what they are representing.”

After a visit to his home from the Renegade team to test his riding skills and a later interview, Halley was chosen as an apprentice, the first step toward being Chief Osceola.
“Being the apprentice means that you watch and work with the horses and trainers for at least a year, and if things work out, you may be able to ride,” Halley said. Now he gets to ride plenty, working with the horse two hours a day, five times a week in the “offseason” and up to 10 times a week during late summer and fall.

“I put in about 20 to 25 hours a week — it is like a part-time job,” he said. Although Halley is attending FSU on a full academic scholarship, he also receives a small scholarship from the Seminole Boosters for his efforts. Halley said all the time he and the horse spend together is crucial for success on Saturdays. “We do everything we can to be ready for any situation,” he said. “We go through the pregame routine over and over, creating all the different scenarios. Even when we try to create the worst day possible at practice, there is no way to truly simulate what happens when the horse is being hard-headed and then you add in 85,000 screaming fans, TV cables everywhere and the band playing. It is so overwhelming.

My job is to remain calm.” If he is not able to keep his own emotions in check, the horse will know. “If you are nervous or uptight, the horse will be, too. He knows what’s going on,” Halley said. “As soon as I get the signal to go, I just fall into what I have been training for. I don’t even think about it.” Halley admits that while he does remain focused, the actual charge across the field is no false display of emotion. “My adrenaline is pumping. I can’t help but yell like crazy and pump the spear in the air,” he said. “It all builds to the climactic planting of the spear on the logo and hearing the ‘Whooo’ from the crowd and thrusting my fist in the air. That is the best part. That’s why we do it.”

Even though he is at the center of such emotion before every home game, Halley understands that it is really about what he represents — and not himself personally. As he enters his final year as Chief Osceola, he said he remembers his three years as an apprentice and what it taught him. “I understand that my role is to portray Chief Osceola in a manner that brings honor to Seminole football and the Seminole people,” he said. “It is not about recognition for me; it is deeper than that. My friends know it’s me — that’s all that matters.”

Not Anymore. 
Young Josh Halley was murdered one week ago today.

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