Meet the Member: Kali Carpenter
Story by Ruth Nicolaus The Mid States East Rodeo Association member lived in Texas for five years before moving back to her parents’ farm in […]
story by Lindsay King
And now, the Foxtrot. For Amanda Zoldak, the Missouri Fox Trotter was simply never fast enough for the Homeworth, Ohio, barrel racer. “All I wanted to do was go fast. My passion was to run barrels at the handful of local shows I went to growing up. I was always sad that I had a gaited horse to run on while everyone else could go fast.” At 17 years old, Amanda left home and joined the army. She served for 13 years and was deployed twice.
“I joined the Army National Guard to help with national disasters in the states. After 9/11, I got a letter telling me I was being deployed to Iraq.” Amanda left in February 2004 and returned in May 2005. “It shaped who I am and made me a stronger person. I was not excited to leave home, my horses and delay college even more.” When she first committed to the Army, Amanda was unsure of what she wanted to do. “All I knew was what my dad had told me from his time in Vietnam. They asked if I could drive a tractor so they made me a heavy equipment operator.” While driving graders and bull dozers in Iraq, Amanda continuously dreamt about getting home and back to barrel racing.
Towards the end of her time in the Army, Amanda took classes online and at Kent State University before starting veterinary school at Ohio State University in 2006. Graduating in 2013, Amanda headed back home to work with the local vet clinic. “The first year after graduation I worked probably 80 hours every week, I did not have time to ride. I was living to work.” After cutting back hours and rotating weekends with her colleagues, Amanda finally got back to rodeo.
“My first big adult purchase was a barrel horse: Agouti Dasher. I call her Chiquita Banana and when we run we yell ‘run, Banana, run!’” Tyler, Amanda’s boyfriend, works with barrel horses regularly and is a big help keeping her horses legged up and ready to go. “Tyler has helped push and motivate me, he will travel 14 hours just to cheer me on.” Amanda has always wanted to buy her MSRA card and finally decided to it in 2015.
“MSRA competitors are some of the friendliest and happiest people I have ever met. They support everyone, cheering people on and being proud of others for doing well. There is no better group of people in the world.” Amanda loves the specialty acts just as much as the events, she could watch the same act several times over and still be entertained. “I have had some of the best times of my life at MSRA rodeos that were far from home. It is a great feeling knowing I can get all the help I might need if something goes wrong at a rodeo.” After such a long hiatus, Amanda is simply happy to be hauling and running her horses.
“It is intimidating to think I have only been doing this for a few years. I do not always have the time to get my horses ready and feel confident. Banana handles everything like a champ, like she has done it her whole life.” At one of their first MSRA rodeos, Amanda pulled a fourth-place check. “I have been fairly inactive but I am ready to get on the bus and start doing more. I feel like I am in the right time of my life where I can start going to more rodeos.” Her current goal is to enter a professional rodeo within the next two years. “I do not need to place I just want to have a good, clean run.” A life-long fan of the “girls of Cheyenne,” Amanda plans to run a clover leaf there one day. “Joining the MSRA has brought my barrel racing career full circle and has been the most enjoyable part of my life. I am happier now more than I have ever been.”
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