Meet the Member Kathryn Todd McDowell

by Rodeo News
Kathryn Todd McDowell at the Junior High Finals courtesy

story by Kathryn Todd McDowell

I can’t believe it’s nearly been 12 years since my first Junior High Rodeo as an Oklahoma sixth grader. It feels like yesterday. I have fond and vivid memories of junior high rodeos and will forever cherish those three years. It was at Junior High rodeos where I learned to compete, gained confidence and met many of my forever friends.
I remember being so nervous at my first junior rodeo at the Shawnee Expo Center in the fall of 2011. The Oklahoma high school rodeoing with the junior high so there were lots of people – big people and I felt small on my ponies Jesse and Cinnamon. I had actually been preparing for these rodeos since I was little. My parents took me to several junior rodeo associations to get me ready for the “big time.”
In my head these were the trials to get into the Olympics (aka Nationals). Little did I know I would gain so much more than just making Nationals. I gained confidence! I was just a little awkward kid and 8th graders seemed so much bigger. But I made some smooth runs, caught my calf and actually won a little money. My confidence was building. I also met new people from around the state and made new friends. By the time my 8th grade year rolled around, I was so much bolder. I was the “fun coordinator” and had no problem walking up to a random new member and make them feel welcome. I wanted them to enjoy Oklahoma Junior High Rodeos as much as me.
I was fortunate enough to make Junior High Nationals all three years. Each of those years were jammed packed with memory making! Everything about Nationals was magical to me! The people, the competition, the lemonade, the tradeshow, the jackpots and just hanging out with so many people that loved horses and rodeo as much as me was simply amazing. It’s hard to pick a favorite memory but one of my favorites was dressing up fellow contestants for the Kings contest – shout out to Brenten Hall & Jaxon Clegg for letting me stuff their bras! But my favorite memory must be winning the All Around and Pole Bending titles my 7th grade year, the last year at Gallup.
But titles or not titles, the most important thing about Junior High rodeos is the people you get to meet. I met so many amazing people from all the Country plus some from Canada. Having all these contacts and connections also helped me in my eventual business, KTbeadwork where I make and sell Native American beadwork all over the United States. All in all, I would encourage parents and junior high aged contestants to experience Junior High Rodeos. There is no better place to make memories, meet new friends, and build confidence in a competitive rodeo environment.

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

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