story by Siri Stevens Erika Chartrand was raised in Montreal Canada and came south to attend college. “My dad said I could go as long […]
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Meet the Member Kara Burns
story by Michele Toberer
“Honestly, the advances that are being made in breakaway roping for us girls is the coolest thing. I have dreamed since I was a little girl about being able to compete at the NFR one day, and to think that we may actually have a chance to rope calves at the Thomas & Mack as a professional breakaway roper is pretty awesome really,” explains Kara Burns of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Kara has already competed in several other ranks of rodeo, starting in junior rodeo, and progressing up through junior high, high school, college; and is currently competing in the Rocky Mountain Professional Rodeo Association. She’s been a RMPRA member since 2015, and although she stepped back a bit last year, she’s ready to see how far she can go in the association in 2020.
Rodeo has been a constant in the cowgirl’s life, as she grew up with her parents, Jeff Burns and Kristen Stoddard. Jeff, who works for Agri Service, competed as a bull rider, and had also been raised in the lifestyle, with his father, David Burns, competing as a saddle bronc rider. Kristen, now the wife of a cattleman in Monteview, Idaho was a hardcore breakaway roper for years as well. Kara’s older brother Brock competed as a bull rider; and her older sister, Alex, was an all-around cowgirl competing in breakaway, goat tying, barrel racing, and team roping.
Kara competed for the Idaho Junior High and High School Rodeo Association and qualified for the national finals rodeo in her 7th and 8th grade years, (2008 and 2009). She was the 2009 NJHSFR Reserve World Champion Breakaway Roper. During her high school career, she was the IHSRA Reserve Champion Breakaway Roper her freshman year, and her senior year she was the state champion breakaway roper, before graduating from Rigby High School. College rodeo came next for Kara, and she competed on a full-ride scholarship for Western Texas College in Snyder, Texas for two years before transferring to South Plains College in Levelland, Texas with a full-ride scholarship as well. “I took a lot of general education classes as I tried to narrow down what I wanted to study. I started out going towards dental hygiene before switching to ultrasound tech studies. Still to this day, I don’t know what I want to do!”
Knowing what she wants to do is not a problem in the rodeo arena. Although Kara team ropes for fun, breakaway roping is a passion she can’t deny. She’s grateful to her mom, and other family members that have helped her progress in her skills; and especially to Jill Lufkin, her mom’s best friend, who has coached her since she was 5 years old. “My middle name is Jill, after her, and she has taught me everything. I still rope with her all the time and am so grateful for all she’s shared with me.” Kara’s also grateful for her two special breakaway horses. Catty is a 10-year-old sorrel roan mare she has owned for 7 years, and Sammy is an 11-year-old chestnut she’s owned for 6 years. “I love to use Catty when it’s a fast move set up on fast calves. On longer scores with fast calves, I prefer Sammy because she has a little faster motor in her than Catty does.”
Kara works riding colts for Cathy Morgan, exercising and preparing the barrel horses for barrel futurities. “I ride a whole slew of really nice horses for her, and many of them go on to run for the Pink or Ruby Buckle Barrel Race Futurities.” Kara often goes snowmobiling with her dad and his wife Heidi, “We love to go snowmobile several different places here in Idaho, but I’m always careful because I don’t’ want to get hurt and be out from rodeo.”
“I’m looking forward to the 2020 season with the RMPRA. They have so many rodeos to go to and always have good added money. I appreciate that they always work to have really good calves, and they keep the score short so it’s even for everyone. The RMPRA is easy to work with, and they make it easy for us to have the opportunity to win.”