story by Ruth Nicolaus The husband/wife duo of Clayton and Rylee Hansen are members of the Idaho Cowboys Association. Clayton competes in the team roping […]
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Meet the Member Cora Walker
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Cora Walker doesn’t let her age get in the way of her pursuing her plans.
At 72 years young, she is in her third year of membership in the Idaho Cowboys Association.
The Weiser, Idaho woman grew up showing horses, then hauling her son and daughter to high school rodeos.
After she retired from school teaching, she competed in 4D jackpots and open rodeos. Then she wanted to take another step: becoming an ICA member.
Cora is modest about her barrel racing. “I don’t consider myself a very proficient or advanced barrel racer,” she said, and sometimes she’s anxious about running.
“I’m always happy when it’s over. I have anxiety, intimidation, and ‘why am I here?’ I always have those feelings of inadequacy.”
But she gets over it with her faith and her persistence.
“I have faith in God,” she said, “and I’m a very patient and determined person, so I don’t want to quit.”
Cora loves the bonds she’s created with her horses.
“The horse is such a beautiful animal, and the things that a trained horse will do for their rider is just a miracle. That you can get a horse trained to run as fast as he can, and turn, and they’re do-ing it because they like you.”
As a mature person, she’d rather be driving to rodeos with her horse than sitting at home with regrets.
“I don’t want to be sitting in the retirement center, saying I wish I would have done things when I had the chance and letting the opportunity pass me by.”
And it gives her something to do, too. “As I get older, it gives me something to think about, to make myself get up in the morning and go out and do chores, and clean up after them, and take care of them. It gives me a purpose every day.”
Her primary mount is a 14.2 hand sorrel gelding named Kit who is thirteen years old. “He’s a small cowbred horse with a big heart and is honest in every run, which gives me the confidence to ride more aggressively,” she said.
As a classroom teacher for 31 years, Cora taught every grade level, from K to sixth grade. Now she is director of the after-school program in Weiser. She loves being around kids; they keep her young.
“I like to be around young people. They are my little window to the world. They’re delightful, and I like to see the enthusiasm they have about life. Young people make me think of hope and fun.”
Cora has been married to her husband, Jack Walker, a veterinarian, for fifty years. They have a son who is a rancher and saddle maker, and a daughter, who is a pharmacist. Both children are married with two kids apiece.
Cora marks her success by her family.
“My contentment and peace in life comes from my fifty-year marriage, my kids being educated, employed and married with families of their own, and fortunately for me, not living in my basement.”
Cora has twice had cancer, and she’s thankful to be alive.
“I’m grateful that I’m even around to go to rodeos. That colors my decision as much as anything. A lot of my friends are not able to be as active because of health concerns. I’m lucky enough to travel by myself and compete at rodeos.”
She won the 2018 ICA Rookie of the Year award, of which she is very pleased.
When she started with the ICA, she set a goal. “I had made up my mind, when I started this little adventure, that I was not going to quit halfway through, when I was not winning. I would stick it out and go to every rodeo, and I did.”
Now she has a new goal: to make the ICA finals.
She doesn’t let her age dictate what she can or can’t do. “I try not to allow my age to be a barrier in the enjoyment of what I want to do.”