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Meet the Member Joelle Mattox
story by Lily Weinacht
Joelle Mattox of Roseburg, Oregon, is making her Junior NFR debut this December after qualifying at the KK Run for Vegas in Moses Lake, Washington. Hosted by Producers Gone Wild, the race was the 11-year-old’s one shot at qualifying for the Junior NFR this year. Not only did she and her horse Magic Master Bug “Magic” put down the fastest run in the junior division with a 15.285, but their time held through several open races that weekend. “The race was really fun, and when I was running home, Magic’s neck was stretched out so far I could barely reach it,” says Joelle. She and her parents, Nataly and Jason Mattox, headed home after the race, and learned later that her time held through the $10,000 open race out of 400 entries. “The American qualifier was the next morning, and the only time to beat Joelle’s was Kathy Grimes’,” says Nataly. “Magic did his thing and really impressed us. He’s 21 this year and belongs to Joelle’s grandma, who she calls Nonni. They’ve worked together at a couple junior rodeos this summer and were clicking, and that’s when we decided to try and qualify.”
Two of Joelle’s friends also qualified for the Junior NFR, including Allison Storts and Harli Houston, and told Joelle about KK Run for Vegas. Joelle also competes in the Northwest Junior Rodeo Association in barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, and goat tying, and was the 2018 reserve all-around champion. Barrel racing is a firm favorite, and Joelle is the third generation of her family to run the cloverleaf pattern. Her grandmother Italy Spratt ran barrels and is a WPRA gold-card member, while her mom, Nataly, was the 2005 CNFR barrel racing champion. Jody Tatone, Joelle’s grandfather, was an NFR bull riding qualifier, and her dad, Jason, rode bulls in the PRCA and PBR. Joelle’s sisters, Cassia (9), and Stella (6), also rodeo and compete in many of the same events as Joelle.
“My mom and my grandma help me a lot. I want to give a big thank you to my Nonni for letting me use her horse, and my mom has helped me a lot coaching me,” says Joelle. Along with riding Magic, whom Joelle describes as the fastest, strongest horse she’s ridden, she competes in poles on Gus, and shares Mexi, her goat tying and breakaway roping horse, with her sisters. “Mexi was a heel horse, so she’s really excited, especially in the breakaway. We also have cows, cats, and dogs. Two dogs usually stay home, and we have a wiener dog, Hazel, who goes to rodeos with us. We call her the other sister,” Joelle says with a laugh. “We have probably 80 head of cows, so there’s a lot of animals to feed and water.”
A sixth-grader at John C. Fremont Middle School, Joelle is in band for the first time this year, playing saxophone, and she also enjoys her art and math classes. She’s finishing her volleyball season, and plays basketball and fastpitch softball. Joelle uses sports to keep her fit for rodeo during the off season, though she’s keeping Magic legged up for the Junior NFR. “I think we might go to a couple of little barrel races and exercise him like he’s going to a yoga class,” she jokes. “I’m just trying to do really good, and I really do want to keep on rodeoing.”