Fixin’ to Be Crazy
This has been an awesome year, even more so because it’s my first time on the road.
This has been an awesome year. I mean, finishing third at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo? Winning the Ram National Circuit Finals in Kissimmee? And then winning the College National Finals Rodeo?
It’s been unbelievable, even more so because this is my rookie season.
Going down the road is new to me. I’ve pretty much only circuit-rodeoed. These big wins don’t hit you for a couple of days, but by then you’re already going to the next rodeo, so you don’t get time to celebrate. It’s a fast-paced life we live.
The Fourth of July run is starting. Things are fixin’ to be crazy.
I grew up in Miles City, Montana. None of my family rodeoed, but we’ve always had cows and horses. When I was little, my dad would always send me to tag calves.
From what my parents tell me, I always packed a rope around as a boy. There are pictures of me roping kids and roping adults. The famous bucking-horse sale is in Miles City. I’d take my rope to the sale, and people would say, Hey, I’ll pay you a dollar if you can catch this girl! Heck, I was probably only three or four years old when I started, but I could make fifty bucks.
I started working horses at an early age, too. My dad used to raise bucking horses. When I was around eight years old, he bought me a yearling and told me to break him. He said I had to learn to break my own horse before I got a good horse.
I was ten when I trained my first rope horse. She was an arena reject that Dad bought out of a sale in South Dakota. We didn’t have an arena at the time. Instead, I learned by chasing a goat around the pasture and roping and tying him down.
I started competing when I was a fifth grader. During my seventh-grade year, I made the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in the breakaway and ribbon roping. When I was in eighth grade, I took all the money I made in 4-H and bought my first calf horse. I kept practicing and, in the high school rodeo, won eleven state titles and made the National High School Finals Rodeo all four years. After that, for two years, I attended Western Oklahoma State College in Altus and then transferred to Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. This past May, I finished my junior year. One more year to go.
Over the Fourth, I’m traveling with Jake Pratt and Cody Craig. We’re planning to get to nearly twenty rodeos. After that, I’ll go with Ty Harris the rest of the year.
I’m riding two horses. One is a nine-year-old mare called Beyoncé, and the other is a ten-year-old gelding named Jaysnic. I had my permit for two years while I finished seasoning them both. I don’t buy any finished horses. I like to train my own calf horses.
Last year, I told myself I’d try to win the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit and get my horses where they’d be ready for this year. That plan worked out great. Both horses seem ready, and both are pretty darn equal in their abilities. They’re also both black, so a lot of people don’t know I’m riding two different horses.
The mare is in Canada right now. The gelding is heading to Reno. I’ll ride him there and in rodeos in Colorado and Oregon.
Yeah, it’s been an unbelievable year, but I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. It’s taken a lot of work and determination to get where I’m at today. A lot of people say, Ah, you’re a rookie. You’re just getting lucky. I don’t let it bother me. I think that stuff is all in your head. You gotta believe in yourself. I mean, everybody puts their jeans on the same way as you do, so you can’t think anybody’s better than you. When you back into the box, you just gotta do your job and let things pan out.
I’ve got some big goals for the year. I want to win Rookie of the Year in both the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association and the PRCA, and I want to make the finals in both. The ultimate goal in the CPRA and PRCA, of course, is to win a gold buckle. I figure I’ve got as good a shot as anybody.