story by Julie Carter Cowboying at the ranch comes natural for Trip Saulsberry, but the arena part of the job didn’t start until he was […]
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Meet the Member Kassidy Lightfoot
story by Lindsay Humphrey
As an eighth grader who’s also a rookie in the NMJHSRA, Kassidy Lightfoot is setting her sights on making an appearance at nationals. “I’ve wanted to make nationals since the sixth grade even though I wasn’t competing in junior high rodeo back then,” said the 14-year-old. “I knew I wanted to have the drive I’d need to make it to nationals.” Even after the junior high season is over, Kassidy will be pushing herself to the next level. “This summer I want to be competitive with some of the top people in my area so I can keep moving forward as I get ready for high school rodeo.” This Corona, New Mexico, cowgirl is planning to take all her current events-barrels, poles, goat tying, ribbon and breakaway roping-with her to high school next fall.
Competing since she was 4 years old, Kassidy has always been highly motivated to work hard. “I was probably 5 when I started in barrels, poles, flags and goats at this local gymkhana. I liked rodeo as soon as I started doing it and it became my favorite thing in the world.” Both of Kassidy’s parents, Travis and RoeAnne, grew up in rodeo and simply passed it down to the next generation. “My grandpa (Rogene Alford) was always roping when I was little. I haven’t gotten to see him rope as much just because he’s slowed down.” It was Rogene and Kassidy’s parents who first put a rope in this fierce competitor’s hand and its remained there ever since.
Coming by her affinity for breakaway roping naturally, Kassidy’s love for pole bending has developed over time. “I like breakaway roping because it’s what my family taught me, but I really love poles because of how fast paced it is and I like the movement of my horse when he’s weaving between poles.” For both Kassidy and her 12-year-old sister, Lyndi, this is their first year in the NMJHSRA. “I wasn’t really sure if I was ready to rodeo in sixth grade and then last year the season was canceled. I like rodeoing with my sister because we can always help each other out. It’s frustrating when she beats me, but I’m proud of her when it happens.” As with any sibling rivalry, Lyndi is disappointed when Kassidy beats her but that’s just how it goes sometimes.
Kassidy didn’t just get her love for roping from Rogene, she also gets most of her mounts from him. “My grandpa really loves being around horses. He raises colts on his ranch is a horse trader. He’s 86 years old and still ranching.” When injury raises its ugly head, Rogene always makes sure his granddaughters have a backup mount. “Pa has always provided us with horses to compete on, but he’s also been able to help work with and train those horses so they’re ready to compete.” Kassidy now has her own project horse, a 7-year-old that was on the back burner until recently. “I would really like to get him ready to go in the barrels and poles. He’s a big horse, so he can be intimidating sometimes, but I really enjoy working with him.”
It’s rare that Kassidy lets her nerves get the best of her. Back in 2018 she overcame them when she won a saddle at the Valencia County Cowboy Church Rodeo. “There was some really tough competition, but that made it so much more special. I put in a lot of extra work for it.” Even though Kassidy is proud of her accomplishments, she’s witnessed humility from some of the top competitors in her area. “My parents work at the school and they taught Taos and Jordan Muncy. They would always come back from a rodeo and when asked how they did, they would say just okay. It turns out they usually won a bunch of stuff. This really taught me that it’s a whole lot better to be humble than to brag about what you’ve done.”