story by Lindsay Humphrey Growing up near Breckenridge, Colorado, Kelley Haythorn all but lived a double life. One of those “lives” was as a rodeo […]
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Meet the Member Becky Pearson
story by Lindsay King
Becky Pearson drove through Broken Bow, Nebraska, in 1996 and she fell in love with the community. Though she was on her way to a job interview in Concordia, Kansas, she dropped a resume off at the hospital in Broken Bow anyways. “I went in with my blue jeans and cowboy boots and just handed them my resume. I was interviewed on the spot,” said the Minnesota transplant turned Nebraska native. She worked at the hospital in Broken Bow for a few years before going back to school at Doane University in Lincoln for her bachelor’s and then the University of Findlay in Ohio for her master’s degree in physical therapy. That all started in 2005 and Chris, now her husband, was a huge supporter of that.
She now owns a physical therapy clinic in Broken Bow while Chris owns a construction business. Becky also became a certified equine therapist a couple years ago. She uses the same techniques on her human patients as she does on the horses at Pivot Point Equine Rehab Therapy. “We are both very fortunate to have wonderful people working for us that hold down the fort while we rodeo. We don’t rodeo to make a living, we make a living so we can rodeo.” Becky grew up riding horses, quickly falling in love with barrel racing through her time spent in 4-H. She continues to run barrels in the M-SRA today, while Chris is a PRCA steer roper. They both also compete in the NSRA. “We go to rodeos together when we can but steer roping is not at all the rodeos. But we make it work when we can.”
Part of making it work is balancing rodeo and time with their daughters: Emma, 13, and Gracie, 10. Both also barrel race and love the sport of rodeo. “Our oldest daughter starts high school rodeo next year so our rodeo traveling will probably be limited for the next seven years or so,” Becky said with a laugh. One rodeo the pair is making their final appearance at for the next few years is the Pendleton Roundup in Oregon. “It is a rodeo like none other. It is amazing with the grassy infield and the huge arena. Running barrels there is an adrenaline rush like I have never experienced before. Just as soon as I finish I want to run again.” The attitude towards the contestants in the community is one of the major draws for Becky and it is something she has tried to implement elsewhere.
“The town treats contestants like celebrities. It is a pretty special event for their area. They appreciate the contestants. That is one thing I wanted to bring to the M-SRA finals.” Becky’s involvement with the M-SRA extends beyond just wearing a back number. She is on the Custer County Fair Board. “The M-SRA finals coming to Broken Bow was the catalyst to the transformation of our fair grounds. We ripped out our old race track and got a new rodeo arena.” The community effort found rodeo fans of all ages and experience helping with the tear-down of the facilities almost three years ago. “The first year of the finals in Broken Bow, we tried to make it a big deal that the contestants were here. They work their butt off all year long and it should be special, it should not just be another rodeo.”
Though the M-SRA is an amateur association, plenty of professionals are regular competitors at the rodeos. “I like that high caliber of competition. I did not realize this until I rode with Brandy Halls who was an arena record holder at the NFR. She said that if I could pull a check in the M-SRA then I could pull one in the pros.” Becky went out and bought her permit not long after. She filled it three years ago and has periodically competed ever since. “I feel like the M-SRA is a good stepping stone for that next level. It provides good competition for that.”