story by Julie Carter Hailing from the Steer Wrestling capitol of the Navajo Nation, Crownpoint, NM, the 17-year-old Tsosie twins, Tyra and Tydon, have made […]
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Meet the Member Emma Cameron
story by Kyle Eustice
Born in Fort Collins, Colo., but raised in Santa Fe, N.M., Emma Cameron grew up around animals. Her father, Andy Cameron, studied veterinarian medicine at Colorado State University and moved the family to N.M. when Emma was 3-years-old and her brother Jack was 2. A year later, she started barrel racing and has been in love with it ever since.
“I’ve had horses my whole life,” said Emma. “I started doing jackpot barrel races in Santa Fe every Wednesday and got hooked. As I got older, I started doing state wide rodeos and just kept going.”
Now 16, Emma still goes to barrel races every Wednesday. She attends The Masters Program in Santa Fe and is entering her senior year. It’s a smaller school, but aimed at college preparation. By the time she graduates, she’ll have an associate degree. Her goals are firmly intact.
“I want to go to Stanford to study business and international relations,” said Emma. “Then I want to go to grad school and get a Ph.D, so I can end up in agriculture on an international level.”
Emma isn’t the average teenager. She’s always wanted to be a barrel racer. Her mother, Karen Cameron, has been one of her biggest supporters. From the Santa Fe Barrel Racers Association to the NMJRA and NMHSRA, she’s been there for the entire journey.
“I’m kind of not normal,” joked Emma. “I love living at home. My mom and I get a long way better than a mom and teenager should. I love high school rodeo. I love my community. It’s such a small state; there’s a feeling of community everywhere you go. Everyone knows everybody.”
Emma was recently crowned the 2016 Queen of the NMHSRA. It took over a year of preparation, but she finally nabbed the crown, her biggest accomplishment in her rodeo career so far. “It’s truly an honor to represent my community and association as Queen,” said Emma. “It means more to me than anything.”
Being the NMHSRA Queen means modeling, delivering impassioned speeches, having impeccable horsemanship, and an intense knowledge of rodeo culture. The moment she was given the honor was something she’ll never forget. “It was really great,” said Emma. “It was unbelievable. I was truly on cloud 9. I worked on it for over a year and a half and to have that pay off was an incredible feeling.”
Emma currently has eight horses, but when forced to choose, her favorite would have to be Gypsy, a 32-year-old mustang who has been in the family since she was born. “I wasn’t allowed to ride her at first,” said Emma. “As my riding skills progressed, she became a goal. I always wanted to ride her.”
Before every event, there are a few things she has on her checklist, including not wearing yellow.
“I’m not that superstitious,” says Emma. “But if I’m running with rubber bands on my feet, if I drop them on the ground, I won’t use them. I also won’t wear yellow; most of the rodeo community considers yellow to be bad luck.”
She’s also developed a funny habit about her attire. If she keeps having bad runs in a certain shirt, she will get rid of it and buy a new one, something that began two years ago.
“I’ve gotten rid of more than 10 shirts,” admits Emma. “It drives my mom crazy. She makes me buy them now [laughs].”
Her mother Karen has played a monumental role in Emma’s success. Her strong work ethic was instilled in her children since they were young and it carries on into everything Emma does.
“She always told us to finish what we start and do everything to the best of our ability,” said Emma. “I’m truly grateful now, even though I wasn’t always. When you grow up with that kind of expectation, you want to achieve big things.”