story by Jennie Lawrence Bouton, Iowa cowgirl Payton Gafford was in the third grade when she decided to take up bull riding. Her mom ran […]
Association MemberJoin Rodeo News
Meet the Member Faith May Cotner
story by Jennie Lawrence
Mounds, Oklahoma International Miniature Rodeo Association (IMRA) member Faith May Cotner is an all-around cowgirl. The 14-year-old competes in the barrels, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, and ribbon roping. Her favorite event is pole bending.
Faith started riding when she was nine-years-old. Her mount was a horse named Holly. “She was happy just walking and trotting a little,” Faith said. “After a while I was ready to go faster and worked my way up to riding my mom’s barrel horse.” During Faith’s first year of competition at age ten, she won a horse trailer barrel racing in the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA). Since then, she has competed on several horses.
Her current mounts include Obediah, an eight-year-old bay gelding. The Cotner’s got him when he was six. His previous owners used him for trail-riding. Faith trained him to run barrels and poles. He has clocked a 20.5 second run in the latter event. “He loves running poles as much as I do,” Faith said.
Princess, a 21-year-old red roan is her rope horse. According to Faith, “she is the sweetest thing, and takes her job very seriously. She always gives 110%, and never complains.” Princess came from a family friend who roped many years on the mare, before passing her on to Faith.
Faith has two rodeo heroines. The first is Jackie Crawford, because of her roping ability. Faith has watched many of her YouTube videos, and has picked up many tips from her. Martha Josey is inspirational. Faith attended a Josey Barrel Racing Clinic, and learned a lot from her.
The young cowgirl is the daughter of Mark Cotner, a Career Tech Administrator, and Tami, a high school English teacher. She has four adult siblings, Jeff, Kenny, Rick, and Danielle. Her mom is a barrel racer, while her dad and Rick are calf ropers.
She credits her family as her biggest supporters. Her dad coaches her and is right by her side at every rodeo. Her mom helps her in the practice pen, and cheers her on from the stands at rodeos.
Faith prepares for rodeos by riding her horses daily to keep them legged up, and to practice her events. She spends time roping a dummy, and also ropes calves in the family arena. She feels there is always something to tune up when roping. A song that gets her pumped up before she rides is “Troubadour” by George Strait.
She goes to about 40 rodeos a year. The farthest she has travelled is to Fort Worth, Texas, for the Patriot roping. Her favorite road trip meals come from either McDonald’s or Sonic restaurants.
Faith is in the 8th grade, and homeschools. She does not participate in any other sports, preferring to focus on rodeo and her horses. When she isn’t rodeoing, she likes to listen to music, she reads, and hunts bear and deer.
Her favorite pet is her pony Pistol. “She follows me everywhere, just like an overgrown dog,” Faith said. Pistol always knows when it is feeding time, and waits for Faith at the back door of the family home. They haul Pistol to a few rodeos when the bareback pony barrel racing event is offered. “She thinks she is pretty important when she gets to load into the horse trailer with the big horses!”
Faith plans on a career in nursing when she is older. She is proud of the fact that she is the youth leader at a cowboy church. “I hope to plant seeds into the minds of as many children as I can,” she said. Her favorite quote reflects her beliefs. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)