Story by Heidi Geesen The 2022 Colorado Junior Rodeo Association Senior Girls Horse of the Year, has a story that is very unique. It is […]
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What The CJRA Has Done for Me
Story by Mackenzie Geesen
Rodeo has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. To say that I was born to do it would probably be the best way to describe it and me. My parents have both been rodeoing since they were in High School and only recently slowed down on going themselves so that they could haul my brother and myself.
My name is Mackenzie Geesen, and I am from Kersey Colorado. I am a 13-year-old 7th grader at Platte Valley Middle School. I play volleyball and basketball, but I love to rodeo and love to be around the people who are part of it. One of the best parts of my summer is getting to go to the CJRA’s. I enjoy getting to hang out with my friends and do what I love. The CJRA has made me a better competitor and has given me confidence to do what I love. It has taken many years for me to get to where I am at now. The CJRA has for sure helped me with that. The caliber of competition is fierce and has helped me become the competitor that I am today. I started out as a Pee Wee, at the age of 5. I only went to one rodeo that year as my parents weren’t quite sure if I was ready for it. When I was 8, my brother Cooper and I, went to all the rodeos. The only thing I won was a backpack that year. My parents had bought me a new horse (Pistol) and my confidence as well as my riding improved greatly. I still have that backpack to this day. My first year as a Junior Girl is when everything turned around. I had outgrown Pistol and upgraded to Slimmy, who was my parents rope horse. My mom had been working on him in the barrels and poles for a couple of years, and decided it was time for me to ride him. I went on to be the Junior Girls Rookie of the Year. Once again, my confidence and my riding improved.
When COVID hit, and the world came to a standstill, that is when my parents decided to take me to some barrel racing jackpots to gain more experience for both me and my horse. The first one we went to had a lot of barrel racers entered at it. It was different from a CJRA rodeo. I did not know everyone that was there, and my nerves started to take over. My dad reminded me that this was no different than a CJRA rodeo, and “Don’t let the moment get bigger than it really is.” I listened to his words, let them sink in, and have never looked back. I qualified for the Junior World Finals for the first time that year and not only competed with some of the world’s best barrel racers, but I also got a little bit of their money.
By the time 2021 season rolled around I was ready to be back into the rodeo world. Getting to see and be around my rodeo friends and family made everything seem normal again. I went on to win the Barrel Racing and the Breakaway Roping Year End titles at the CJRA, and once again qualified for the Junior World Finals. 2021-2022 started my Junior High Rodeo career. I was the 2022 Champion Barrel Racer, and qualified to my first Junior High National Finals Rodeo. The 2022 CJRA rodeo season led me to another Barrel Racing title, and significant improvement in my Goat Tying as well as my Pole Bending. I also made my 3rd trip to the Junior World Finals. I am hoping that 2023, which is my last year as a Junior Girl in the CJRA, will go just as well as the last two.
Without the CJRA I would not be where I am today. The Colorado Junior Rodeo Association has greatly improved my competitive nature as well as my confidence and I cannot wait to see how far I can go in this sport that I love because of this amazing association.