The National Junior High Rodeo Competition (NHSRA), held at the Wilson County Fairgrounds, in Lebanon, Tennessee, concluded on June 24, 2017, with contestants coming from across the United States and the world – from Hawaii, to the far North of Canada and the outback of Australia.
The event was part of the National High School Rodeo Association. Waskom’s very own incoming High School freshman, 14-year-old Kara Moore, daughter of James and Lori Moore, was carrying on a family tradition of rodeo competition. Kara made her mark, placing 16th in the first round of the fierce competition.
This was the apex of this year’s journey, where Kara followed in her older sister Kaci’s college rodeo competition footsteps, or better said, in the same saddle, with their family horse, Rose. Kaci wrote a touching story about the amazing equine member of the Moore family:
“Our family has absolutely been blessed with this 19 y.o. Hancock bred mare, that goes by the name Rose. Rose is undoubtedly this family’s once-in-a-lifetime horse. 7 years ago, while mom was working at a vet clinic, a client suggested to her several times to come look at the older, well-mannered mare he had for sale. At the time, Rose had been solely used for ranch work.
Eventually, we made the hour’s drive to the tiny town of Avenger, TX. Shortly after pulling into the little overgrown ranch, we watched as the older man walked into the pasture and haltered a slightly underweight bay roan mare, with a knotted tail cut short above her hocks, unshod hoofs in desperate need of a trim, and sun-bleached patchy mane.
Of course, we had our doubts, as the older gentlemen proceeded to throw a worn-out saddle over her back and pulled a mechanical hackamore attached to a bridle, that had seen its better days, over her ears. Rose stood quietly, as the old man climbed into the saddle. We stood slightly shocked and amazed, as he picked up the reins and asked her to lope a few circles on gravel, just outside of his little farm house. Rose did just as she was told and didn’t miss a beat.
The old man stepped off of her and insisted that I “take her for a spin.” I did, and Rose did as asked. The older man wanted merely $1,500 for the mare and with a signed check, Rose was ours. Rose learned to run barrels at weekend play days, in ground that hadn’t seen a tractor in ages. As time went on, I started running her at jackpots. With each run, she progressed quickly. Much sooner than expected, Rose and I were consistently pulling checks in the 1D at larger barrel races and winning a few small jackpots. Soon, after finding a semi level spot in our pasture, we set six poles up and sent Rose through. She took to it effortlessly!
Rose’s list of accomplishments is long. Kara and Rose have won numerous buckles in the sorting pen and Rose carried me through my first two years of college rodeo running barrels. This past year, Kara and Rose have traveled to many Junior High rodeos and accomplished their goal to make the Junior High Rodeo State Finals in poles. In May, Kara and Rose made 3 FAST and clean pole runs that put Kara in the top 3 Junior high rodeo finalist in Texas and ultimately qualified them to advance to nationals in Tennessee, where they competed with 3 other top qualifier girls from each state.
If there is one thing this horse has taught us, it is to never underestimate the underdog and to look at each horse through the eyes of maximizing their potential. Expensive horses are nice, I’ve had wonderful opportunity to ride a couple myself, but horses like Rose make you appreciate this rodeo life so much more with each and every exceeded expectation and accomplishment they make. Congratulations and good luck to my sister Kara and her teammate Rose.”
Kaci concludes this inspiring story by quoting from the Bible: “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.” Jeremiah 17:7”
With her family’s blessing and the spirit of excellence, Kara worked towards the National Rodeo competition by winning Regions 5 for East Texas from across the great State of Texas. This victory propelled Kara to State competition in May 2017, in Gonzales, Texas, where she took third place, with Rose carrying her across the finish line in Pole Bending and Barrel Racing.
Four winners from Texas were taken to the National Junior High Finals in Tennessee, where over 150 competitors qualified. The national events began with Break-Away Roping, Bull Riding, Chute Dodging, Cowgirl’s Breakaway Roping, Goat Tying, Pole Bending, Ribbon Roping, Team Roping and Tie Down Roping. Kara placed 16th national in the first round of Pole Bending with Rose.
Kara and family returned from the event and went right back to work, preparing for the next year of competition, with her parents and sister proudly supporting her efforts – and, of course, along for the ride will be Rose. Kara started riding at the age of 2. At 14, she is continuing to make her town, state and family proud. A bright future lies ahead for this young champion and her loyal, steadfast horse.