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Meet the Member: Ashlyn Moeder
By Lindsay Whelchel
For Ashlyn Moeder, rodeo has been more than just finding a sport she is passionate about, it’s been about finding herself too. The cowgirl from Oakley, Kan., was the first in her family to dive into the horse world, and after years of competing in the showing circuit, she was looking to spice things up. That’s when she joined the Kansas High School Rodeo Association.
“Some of my friends from around Oakley helped me a lot and started telling me about rodeo. I always liked the faster events of the show, and so I started thinking maybe rodeo would fit me better,” Ashlyn says. She went to her first rodeo in her sophomore year of high school and was hooked. “I just loved rodeo and actually quit showing my junior year so I could get better at the rodeo side of things,” she explains.
Ashlyn is self-described as shy but found rodeo to be an embracing atmosphere. “It takes awhile to get to know me. I don’t talk to other people much, so that’s why it took me awhile to kind of get friends at the high school rodeos, because I didn’t really talk to anyone, because I was so shy, but once I did, now I have so many amazing friends. It was one of the best things for me,” she says and adds, “With show you’re not as connected to the other people, whereas with rodeo it’s like you’re all family. Everybody helps one another, and it was really fun being a part of that and seeing another side of the horse [industry] with the difference between show and rodeo.”
Ashlyn began in KHSRA with just barrel racing and pole bending, but soon she added breakaway and goat tying.
“The biggest challenge was going up against people who had rodeoed their whole lives. When I came in I didn’t know anything. It was just hard to be able to compete against people that had been competing for so long. It took awhile to get started and get to where I was actually competitive,” she admits.
But she took the challenge head on with a little help from her friends.
“I won the short go at state finals in breakaway. That was a pretty big success to me, because I’d been working at it so hard, and breakaway is not just something that comes to you over night. It took a lot of dedication, and I went through a lot of dry spells with it, and in my senior year I finally started connecting more with it. That was probably my favorite thing.” She credits her friends Jd Draper and the Inlow family, who helped her get started in rodeo, with helping her specifically in her roping.
She also credits her family and community with their support. Her dad, Mike, farms and mom, Melinda, is an accountant.
“Just the feeling of being able to make everybody proud around here is awesome and all the people that give me so much support is my favorite,” she says of her high school rodeo experience. Ashlyn just graduated and will be attending Garden City Community College in the fall and doing their pre-vet program and of course, college rodeo.