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Meet the Member John Murphy
story by Michele Toberer
Louisiana Junior High Rodeo has been a part of John Murphy’s life since he joined in 6th grade, although he’s been attending rodeos even longer, as his older sisters, Kati and Ali, have both been involved with the association during their own rodeo careers. John is the youngest of the three Murphy children belonging to Guy and Gina Murphy, and the all-around cowboy has rodeo blood running through his veins. Not only does he follow in his father’s footsteps, competing in multiple cowboy events such as team roping, tie-down roping, goat tying, chute dogging, and ribbon roping; he’s also taken the lead of his sisters and is involved as an officer in different associations. The 13-year-old 8th grader at Bell City Junior-Senior High School is involved in the Junior Beta club and student council and is the president of the local 4-H club this year. “I really like getting to be more hands-on with the club and getting to help make decisions.”
John is grateful to have his dad helping him with many of his events, especially chute dogging, and also appreciates the help he’s received from several others in the multiple events he is growing in. “Ryan Gotreaux also helps me with chute dogging, Cole Frey helps me with team roping and the Harper brothers, Cheyenne and Maverick, help me with tie-down roping. I’m also thankful to Miss Mandy Hebert, and Brandon Henry, who let me use their arenas to practice team roping, and tiedown roping.” John stepped up from breakaway roping to tiedown roping this year, and his 17-year-old sorrel gelding, Diablo, who he’s been riding for four years, stepped up with him. “I like tiedown roping the best because even after you rope it’s not done yet, so you have stuff to do the whole time.” John’s ribbon roping partner is Addison Kay, and Hudson Gros is John’s heeler in team roping. John heads for Hudson on his family’s gray gelding Charlie, that his sisters both use to compete on as well.
After school, rodeo practice is a regular occurrence and he tries to divide his time between each of his events so that he and his horses are prepared for the weekend rodeos. Most weekends that include a rodeo, involve travel between the three levels of rodeo they’re involved in. John’s oldest sister, Kati, competes for McNeese State University, and Ali is a LHSRA competitor. “We will enter the LJHSRA rodeo so that I can compete on Friday night, then we travel to the college rodeo to watch Kati compete on Saturday, then come back to the high school rodeo for Ali to compete on Sunday morning. I’m a very competitive person and I like the competition and like to go to all the rodeos and make friends.”
John has finished in the top 10 in each of his events in LJHSRA the past two seasons and has hopes of qualifying for the national finals this summer before moving up to the high school rank. He was the 2019 Louisiana Little Britches All-Around Champion Cowboy. John has definitely made his mark in the academic scholarships offered through the National High School Rodeo Association, and was chosen as the National Cinch Academic Cowboy, receiving a $2,000 Scholarship in 6th grade, as well as earning the 2018 Professional’s Choice National Junior High Student Athlete Reserve Champion award, receiving a $500 scholarship. He was then named the 2019 Professional’s Choice National Junior High Student Athlete Champion, receiving a $1,000 award in Huron, South Dakota last summer. He plans to use these scholarships to continue his education after he graduates high school, and has his eyes set on attending McNeese State University to obtain a degree in business while he competes as a collegiate rodeo athlete.