Story by Siri Stevens Joyce Barnes has been involved with the Moffat County High School Rodeo Club for 12 years. She started when her oldest, […]
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Meet the Member Breanna Maxwell
by Lily Weinacht
Cortez, Colorado, native Breanna Maxwell is leading the pole bending and sitting fifth in the barrel racing in the CSHSRA. The 17-year-old’s fall rodeo season proved challenging when her barrel horse was injured, but she borrowed a friend’s horse and worked to keep her spot in the standings. Sneaky, a 14-year-old Quarter Horse, hadn’t been ridden in two years when Breanna borrowed him, but he soon found a new home with Maxwells. “We ended up buying him – he’s a pretty nice horse,” says Breanna. “The lady who owned him before had run barrels on Sneaky, so I just gave him a refresher and I took him to high school rodeos a week after I started riding him.”
Breanna’s rodeo career began when she was three, and she’s entering her fourth season in the CSHSRA, while also competing in local NBHA barrel races. Of her two events, she finds pole bending on her horse Smokey more challenging. “That makes them more fun, but poles can also get frustrating really fast,” she admits. “I’m a pretty competitive person, and rodeo is all on me. It’s my fault if I mess up, and I’m motivated because I don’t want to let my family or my horses down.”
She’s gone to several rodeo clinics this winter, most recently returning from a barrel racing clinic hosted by Charmayne James in Colorado Springs. “It was my first time going to one of her clinics, and it was pretty neat to learn her drills,” says Breanna. “I definitely look up to my mom. She’s always been there to help me out no matter what I’m doing, and supported me whether I’ve had a bad rodeo or a good rodeo.”
Karen Maxwell, Breanna’s mom, grew up wanting to rodeo, and she started competing in the NBHA as an adult. She and Breanna travel together to NBHA events, and within a few years, they’ll be competing on horses they’ve raised. “We have broodmares, and we raise a lot of our own horses,” Breanna explains. “I help with starting a lot of the colts and training them. The ones I’ve trained are still pretty young.” Her sister, Cammy Maxwell, also competed in high school rodeo and continues to run barrels. Their dad, Brandon Maxwell, doesn’t ride, but he supports them wholeheartedly and comes to many of the rodeos. He guides mountain lion hunts in the area, while Karen works in the operating room at a local hospital.
During the winter, Breanna enters a monthly winter rodeo series in Cortez, and she enjoys archery hunting for deer and elk with her dad. “We live pretty far from everything, but I really like having the mountains right here and getting to hunt whenever I’m done with school.”
A senior, Breanna switched from public school to homeschooling a year ago so she would have more time to ride and practice. “I like having the time to get things done during the day, but it gets kind of lonely. It took some getting used to,” she says. Breanna does all her classes online, and especially enjoys science. Recently, she was studying earth science and how to read and draw topographic maps. “They have a ceremony at state finals for seniors, so that will be my graduation,” she adds.
Breanna’s goal is to go into state finals sitting first in poles, which she won the short-go in last year. “I’m hoping to get that saddle and go to Nationals. There’s a pro rodeo series that runs nearby, so I’d like to get my PRCA permit this winter and rodeo with them. If that goes well, I’d like to start traveling and competing in the PRCA.”