story by Michele Toberer Achieving world champion status is something many cowboys and cowgirls across the country dream of as they are in the practice […]
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Meet the Member Ali Murphy
story by Michele Toberer
Ali Murphy is fully enjoying her final season of membership with the Louisiana High School Rodeo Association; a group she’s been a part of since she was in the 6th grade. Serving as the association’s student secretary for the second season has helped make her senior year even more fulfilling. “Being secretary has been great and helped me to get to know more members. I love being more involved in the association activities and decisions that are made; whether it’s working on the cowboy prom or adding our own touches to the rodeos.” The 17-year-old, from Iowa, Louisiana, stays extremely busy in all aspects of her life, but rodeo ranks highest among her many activities and she loves carrying on the family tradition.
Ali is the middle child of Guy and Gina Murphy and is proudly following down the same path as her older sister, Kati. Kati is a LHSRA alumna who also served as the secretary during her sophomore through senior years. Kati now attends McNeese State University, just 30 minutes from their Iowa, Louisiana family home. “My sister is a part of the rodeo team at McNeese, and they were the national champion women’s rodeo team back to back these past two seasons. I look forward to hopefully contributing to that next year as I also plan to college rodeo there!” Ali’s younger brother, John, is 13 and in his final season of the junior high division of LHSRA. All three Murphy children have followed the lead of their dad, who spent his life rodeoing as a steer wrestler, calf roper, and team roper. “Our dad has helped us so much with our rodeo events, and our neighbor and family friend, Mrs. Kim Medicis came over at least 4 to 5 times each week to help coach us when we started.”
Ali loves her math and English classes at Bell City High School and is already working on her college education as she’s involved in the dual enrollment program. She is also involved in Student Council, Beta Club, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Ali has been a 4-H member showing swine since she was in the 4th grade and will be raising her final show pigs through 4-H this season.
Ali competes in barrel racing, pole bending, and her favorite event, goat tying. As an 8th grader, Ali was the LJHSRA Reserve Champion Goat Tyer and qualified for national finals. She uses the family’s big grey gelding, Charlie, to tie goats off of. Kati uses Charlie to tie goats in college rodeos, while her brother also team ropes on him. “Charlie is such a sweetheart and you can do anything on him!” Ali and Kati share another family horse, a sorrel mare named Mary; Ali rides her for barrel racing and pole bending, and Kati uses Mary to compete in barrel racing.
There are many chores at home that keep Ali busy, as the family has many animals to care for. “My dad is a sales manager at a concrete company, but he’s also the head of Murphy Ranch at home. He and my uncle are cattle ranchers, so we have a lot of cattle to care for, but we also have goats and calves to practice on, the pigs that we show, dogs, and barn cats. Cleaning stalls can take most of the day and I also help keep the feed room clean and help mom in the house.” Gina is an elementary counselor at Ali’s school, which has approximately 800 students between pre-kindergarten and 12th grade. When the family does have any down time, they like to go deer hunting.
Ali hopes to reach her goal of qualifying for national finals in all three of her events. Once she graduates and continues her education at McNeese, she would like to get a degree in the medical field while she rodeos at the collegiate level.
“I love that rodeo teaches you such responsibility and discipline. You have to keep yourself in shape, but also your horses. If you’re not taking care of them so that they’re at their best, you are really hurting yourself. Rodeo has taught me so much that will carry me on to the next phase of my life.”