Meet the Member Joe Stoddard
story by Lillian Landreth Many a high school rodeo athlete has been shaped by Joe Stoddard’s contributions to the sport, from his blood relations to […]
story by Lily Weinacht
It’s Bailey Moody’s fourth and final season in the SDHSRA, and the 17 year old from Letcher, S.D., is aiming for a second state title to crown her senior year. She was the 2014 State Champion Pole Bender and went on to finish eighth in the world at the NHSFR that summer, but before she could return to defend her title in 2015, she tore both her ACL and meniscus during the first high school basketball game of the season. The injury was a distinct damper to her season, but Bailey finished physical therapy and is competing once again. Though she quit goat tying and team roping, she continues to compete in barrel racing, pole bending, and breakaway roping.
“My family is a huge inspiration, and they are what pushes me each and every single day,” says Bailey. “I have three other siblings, so on the days I’m tired and want to take a nap instead of riding, I use them as motivation.” Three generations of the Moody family have ridden and worked horses, and Bailey and her siblings are the first to rodeo, introduced into 4-H rodeo by a neighbor. Bailey started out on a pony, Hawk, whom her dad raised and trained when he was a teenager. “My whole family had the pleasure of riding him, and he lived to be 30,” Bailey says. “My dad is my rodeo coach, and he makes sure we’re out there every day in the arena. I’m so competitive, it’s ridiculous! But one of my biggest inspirations is my best friend, Tanna Kingsbury. She passed away from cancer not too long ago, and she’s my inspiration in keeping going.”
Practice is a cornerstone of the Moody family, though Bailey had to revise her schedule after her pole horse was injured. “Normally, I’d do barrels and poles one night and breakaway and goats the next, but my pole horse got hurt about the same time I did and I can’t practice on her as much. Now I’m working on my five-year-old project horse, Rocky, in the barrels,” Bailey explains. “Chilo has been my pole horse since junior high, and we made it to Nationals every year since sixth grade, except for last year. I can also rope on Chilo – we raised and trained her – but we have a new horse, Roper, that I might use this summer.”
All together, the Moodys have 15 horses, beef cattle, a farm dog, and 80 head of sheep, raised by Bailey’s brother, Mason (13). Bailey has a younger sister, Madi (15), and an older sister, Logan (21), who’s helping Bailey with her barrel horse while working as a nurse and planning her wedding, set for August. Their parents are Perry and Tracy Moody. “Madi is a freshman in high school rodeo, so we have some sister rivalry going this year. We practice together and give each other advice, although we don’t always take it the best,” Bailey says with a laugh. “We also run the chutes for Mason, who does steer riding. Our grandpa, Jerry Moody, is huge into rodeo too, and he’s been a huge inspiration to me.”
Graduating May 14th from Sanborn Central High School, Bailey is headed for Dakota State University this fall to study elementary and special education, with hopes of going on to University of South Dakota for occupational therapy. She plans to compete in the SDRA and jackpots during college, but before that, Bailey hopes to make one more trek to the NHSFR. “One of my favorite memories from Nationals is the Special Kid’s Rodeo, where we help kids with special needs compete in a variation on rodeo. It’s an excellent experience for them, and eye opening for everyone else. My goal is to be an occupational therapist in a school program, and open a riding place for special needs kids during the summer.”
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