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Meet the Member Willow Wilson
story by Siri Stevens
Willow Wilson, from Baggs, Wyoming, won her sixth All Around title for the CPRA this year. Her mare, Miss Kitty, won the Mixed Team Roping horse of the year. Miss Kitty has been part of Willow’s team for nine years. The 40-year-old competes in team roping, both mixed and open, and breakaway roping. “It’s fun every time you win it,” she said about the repeat accomplishments. “The main thing is the fun of going and seeing all your friends and doing it with your husband. If it wasn’t fun, we wouldn’t do it.”
Willow and her husband, Todd, met along the college rodeo trail. She has been competing in rodeo since she was 13, starting with Wyoming Junior Rodeo Association and moving through Wyoming High School rodeo association. She made it to Nationals three out of four years in the pole bending.
“Growing up I didn’t have a whole lot of friends. When I started competing in rodeo’s is when I met my lifelong friends. My dad (Paul Nicholas) had an outfitting business, so we had horses. My mom (Rhonda) put me in English riding first because my aunt had an English saddle. “I learned how to ride English and jump. As I got older the English deal was expensive. I learned how to rope on my dad’s old, gentle, outfitting horses and he and I ended up roping together.”
She went to Casper College on a full ride scholarship and served as the student director for the Central Rocky Mountain Region. She made the college finals all four years in the breakaway roping. Willow graduated with an associate degree in Ag Business and accounting. After college, Willow started raising and training horses back home in Baggs, Wyoming, living in the same house that she grew up in. She moved to Texas in 2014 to help run a ranch and hopefully rope more since the weather was more forgiving than Baggs, but it wasn’t a good fit. “I didn’t rope as much as I do here – there was always something else to do besides rope and that wasn’t good for me, I wasn’t happy not roping and rodeoing so I decided to move back home.”
She married Todd Sept 18, 2021, and they settled back in Baggs. “I don’t sell horses like I used to. I’m selling a few, but I’m riding more outside horses now. We’ve got some consignments, but mainly what we take is stuff we want to keep.” Going to rodeos helps them keep their talents in front of people so they can trust them training their horses. She also works for Sage Veterinary Services handling studs, mares, and performing other duties as a vet technician. Along with all that, Willow still has her saddle pad company, Rolling W saddle pads. “I’ve made them for over 15 years now. I bought the business from K Bar K saddle pads.”
Her next goal in rodeo is to make Circuit Finals in the team roping with Todd. “We did pretty good last year, but his horse got hurt and even though we did well, we didn’t make it (circuit finals).” She is also dreaming of making a run for the Breakaway Finals so for this year, she wants to get to more pro rodeos. In order for that to happen, Willow is consciously working on her competitive edge. “I didn’t rope much in Texas, so when I got back, I felt like I lost my competitive edge. I used to never get nervous or worry about what is going to happen when I nod my head. It’s been a struggle ever since I came back. I miss at times when I never used to miss.” She is working on that with lots of practice and support from Todd.
Willow has given back to the sport she loves by volunteering her time as director. “I am currently the Mixed Team Roping Director for the CPRA as well as the breakaway director for Wyoming Rodeo Association.” Todd is the heeling director for the CPRA as well.