Meet the Member Katelynn Westphal

by Rodeo News

story by Jennie Lawrence

Leola, South Dakota cowgirl Katelynn Westphal is a true all-around competitor. She participates in barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, and team roping. The latter is her favorite event. Katelynn is a four-year member of the South Dakota High School Rodeo Association (SDHSRA), a member of South Dakota 4-H Rodeo, and the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA).
She started rodeoing when she was three-years-old. “I started out on my little pony Joe. My parents began by leading me through the patterns but it wasn’t long until I was going through them myself, and moving up to bigger horses,” she said. The young cowgirl started learning how to rope when she was five-years-old. At the age of eight she began 4-H rodeo and competed without her parents help.
Katelynn is the daughter of Christi and Richard Westphal. She went on her first horseback ride at the age of two-weeks. Her dad strapped her in a baby sling on his stomach, and they went out to check cows.
Katelynn’s first 14-hand plus horse was a sorrel Quarter Horse mare named Bess Popper Bar. Bess was four-years-old when Katelynn started riding her. The mare is now 17-years-old, and the duo is still a team. Richard did most of the initial training on the mare, then the family sent her to a barrel horse trainer before Katelynn started competing on her.
She also rides LR Hancock’s Roan Star, called Arrow. He is a 14-year-old bay roan Quarter horse gelding. Originally her dad’s ranch horse, Katelynn took him away to use as a reining and rope horse. A third horse in her string is Weeladancen Hick. They call the 17-year-old gelding Cocaine. She bought him three-years-ago at a very cheap price after he injured his previous owner. Katelynn trained him for barrels and poles.
She credits Richard as her biggest supporter. “He helps me by finding jackpots and events around the area to practice at and by hauling me almost everywhere I want to go,” Katelynn said. He also keeps her on track throughout the day, and makes sure she is prepared for each event. He videos every run so Katelynn can see what she needs to improve for her next performance.
Katelynn feels she does her best at rodeos when she can mentally prepare at the back of the grounds with no distractions around. She attends around 27 rodeos a year. The farthest she has traveled to compete is to Rapid City, South Dakota. However, she did go to Fort Worth, Texas to watch friends compete.
When she is not rodeoing, she enjoys competing in rodeo queen contests. She has won a variety of 4-H queen contests, and was named Junior Miss Rodeo Aberdeen for the 2017-18 year. She also enjoys training horses and doing bead work. She plays volleyball, too.
She is a senior at Leola High School, and is 17-years-old. She likes all the school clubs and organizations that she is a member of, because they keep her busy and involved. She does not like the fact that the school days are long, and she misses out on riding horses on the warm, sunny days.
Katelynn’s favorite pet is her dog Bell, a seven-year-old miniature Australian shepherd. Bell does not get to travel to many rodeos because she just spends her time barking back at the trailer while Katelynn competes.
The young woman plans to attend Mitchell Technical College in Mitchell, South Dakota. She wants to major in Animal Science, with a goal of becoming a veterinary assistant or an animal nutritionist. She does not plan on rodeoing in college, but will stay involved in the sport through the NBHA, the South Dakota Rodeo Association (SDRA), and various jackpot events.
Katelynn’s rodeo heroine is Jackie Crawford, because she is always pushing herself to be the best and defies all the odds. Kaitlynn said Crawford has done some amazing things in her career, including being the first to win the National Finals Breakaway Roping (NFBR), when she was six-months pregnant. “It is women like her that inspire me to push myself and to keep working, because my goals will be accomplished if I do.”

                © Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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