story by Lily Landreth Jaytyn Hash took home his first NLBRA world title at the 2019 NLBFR last summer in the team roping, a victory […]
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Meet the Member Kaitlin McWhorter
story by Lily Weinacht
Kaitlin McWhorter put 170 points on the board in one weekend alone this fall rodeoing for Murray State University in Kentucky, and she attributes much of her competitiveness to rodeoing with the NLBRA. The 18-year-old goat tier, barrel racer, and breakaway roper from Cobden, Illinois, joined the NLBRA as a sophomore in high school. She had previously competed in youth rodeos like the American Family Rodeo in Missouri, winning her first saddle with them in 2012. “After that, my mom decided it was time to step it up, so that’s why we joined Little Britches,” says Kaitlin. “I was kind of shocked after my first Little Britches rodeo, because I got my butt kicked. I was rodeoing with girls like Jessica Roland, who’s an all-around cowgirl. We believe you’re only as good as your competition, so that made me better, and I went to Nationals my first year and made it to the short-go in barrels.”
Kaitlin won Rookie of the Year in the senior girls division in 2014. By her senior year, she was competing in everything except team roping, rodeoing in no less than three Little Britches franchises, and winning the all-around year-end saddles in both the Alabama and Central Arkansas Little Britches associations for 2016. “We’re very proud of Kaitlin – she’s pretty much paid for her first year of college through academic and rodeo scholarships,” say Kim and Garon Adams, Kaitlin’s parents. “She loves Little Britches and gave up all her other sports her senior year to rodeo. When Kaitlin was eight or nine, she’d listen to the same Chris LeDoux song before a run and compete with a buckeye in her pocket, and she didn’t want her rodeo socks washed.”
“My mom grew up riding horses and my dad never had pets as a kid, so I really got their world spinning,” says Kaitlin. “They’ve always done their best to do what they can for me to rodeo. My dad made a roping sled and pulled it on the four-wheeler for me, and they built an outdoor arena, plus I always had goats to practice on.”
Goat tying has long been Kaitlin’s favorite event. She recently won the short-go and average at a college rodeo in the goat tying, riding a horse she’s only had for three weeks. “I bought JR as a roping horse, and I didn’t know he’d never tied goats. He had a sliding stop, which I had to fix because I do a flying dismount, but he’s a quick learner. I also breakaway on him, and he’s on the calf as soon as it’s out there. I also love to come screaming in for the barrels wearing my crazy pants. Even if I don’t do good, I at least want people to see my run or know about it! My horse Rowdy has a real push style – whether it’s deep mud or hard ground, we’re moving.” Kaitlin also plans to start heeling on JR to put her in the all-around standings.
“College rodeo has been really, really competitive, which I was expecting, but even with all the competition, there’s so many people willing to help each other out. That’s something we really love about Little Britches – we made so many close friends, and I think it will be the same in college. It’s neat to see those friendships bloom, even though we’re trying to kick each other’s butt,” Kaitlin says with a laugh.
During high school, Kaitlin also ran for NLBRA National Queen, and though she didn’t win, it inspired her to run for Union County Fair Queen in Illinois, just weeks after running for Cobden Peach Festival Queen. “I almost fell over when I found out I won Union County,” she recalls. “I found out I love public speaking, and that’s really helped me in college. It was really different, but really fun – I traded my boots for heels and I loved it. I can even run in heels now. I was also able to use my horses to promote the fair, like carrying their flag in the rodeo and riding in parades. It was neat to integrate those passions.”
Another of Kaitlin’s passions is running her own business, RodeoKat’s Riding Lessons & More. She started it this summer, offering trail rides, pony rides for birthday parties, rodeo lessons, and even horse camps. As an Ag. Business major, she hopes to use her degree to work as a sales representative for companies like Syngenta or Monsanto before expanding her own business and riding horses full time. “My goal right now is to make the CNFR, and I want to make it to the short-go of each college rodeo in at least two events. We keep inching up in the barrels and goats, and I always want to have a faster time. I also hope to do a few Little Britches rodeos this season, and I want to thank our whole rodeo family from Central Arkansas – they were our rock. And of course, I want to thank my family – I wouldn’t be able to rodeo without them.”