Meet the Member: Kira Hillary

by Rodeo News

Story by Michele Toberer

What a year it has been for Kira Hillary of Glen Allen, Missouri! The 14-year-old homeschooled freshman may not have a lifetime of experience in rodeo just yet, but she’s having the time of her life as she is competing in her second year with the International Miniature Rodeo Association. Kira was grateful to be a part of the inaugural group of girls getting to compete as breakaway ropers in the IMRA last year and finished her rookie season as the 2020 IMRA Reserve Champion Breakaway Roper. She also finished in the top 10 in barrel racing at the 2020 IMRA finals held at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma this past January. “I was really pumped for it! It was definitely an experience, and I was just glad to even be a part of it. Finishing as the reserve champion breakaway roper just topped it off!”

Although she had ridden horses prior, it wasn’t until last year that she jumped in with both feet to rodeo competition. Kira is grateful to her dad, Keith Wooten and cousin, Joe Wooten, for helping her learn the ropes in both breakaway roping and barrel racing. Keith and Kira’s mom, Lori Wooten, own and operate the Wooten Rodeo Company, where they produce approximately 20 rodeos each year across Missouri, Illinois, and Arkansas. They primarily produce International Professional Rodeo Association rodeos and offer IMRA sanctioned events at many of the IPRA sanctioned shows. The Wooten family keeps over 20 to 40 head each of bucking horses, bulls, miniature bulls, and rodeo cows, besides raising beef cattle. Kira loves to help behind the scenes at home as well as at the events. “I help with feeding, sorting stock, vaccinating, and loading stock for rodeos. I also help run stock through the chutes prior to rodeos and help wherever I can. I love being hands-on. It is such an incredible lifestyle, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.”
Kira started out breakaway roping on a bald-faced gelding lovingly referred to as Baldy. Baldy is 25-plus years old, and after the old gentleman shared all the roping experience he could with Kira, she stepped up to the 15-year-old flea-bitten grey mare, Fancy, she began riding 5 months ago. “Baldy was great, but I was ready for a more competitive mount, and so far, really love Fancy. She can keep up with just about any speed of cattle, so I’m definitely not getting outran! Breakaway is my favorite event, and I was really glad the IMRA added it last year. I’m also very excited to see all of the opportunities growing for the future of breakaway roping.”
Titus is the 10-year-old chocolate palomino gelding that Kira runs barrels on. “He gives me a run for my money. He always has me on my toes and sees what he can get by with. He makes me work for it every ride and has definitely taught me to be humble towards horses!”
Kira is enjoying her homeschool classes so far this year, especially math and biology. She plans to attend either Murray State University or Auburn, Alabama after high school. Her long-term sights are set on becoming an equine chiropractor.
“My favorite thing about the IMRA is that I get to meet a lot of new people from all over the country and then get to see them for a whole week at the season finals. I’m really looking forward to qualifying for the 2021 IMRA finals this coming January, it’s going to be great!” Kira appreciates her opportunities and the wonderful support she receives from family as she works to achieve her goals. “I’m grateful to my Grandma Debra and Grandpa Gary Hillary, my mom and dad, my Uncle Cory Pasquale, and Uncle Joe Wooten. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of them behind me.”

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

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