story by Claire Vincent Millie Frey is the 18 year old daughter of Winston and Cindy Frey from Mowata, Louisiana. She is a senior at […]
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Meet the Member Josey “Hooter” Murphy
story by Michele Toberer
The rodeo world thought they were just introduced to a new shining star from Keachie, Louisiana, when Hooter Murphy backed into the box and rode away with the 2020 NHSRA World Champion Breakaway Roper title. However, this rope twirling, barrel racing, pole bending cowgirl has been shining for years now, we’ve just been calling her Josey. “My dad said when I was a baby I would squeak and squeal and it sounded like an owl, so he started calling me Hooter. Most of my friends and family have called me Hooter my whole life, but I figured it’s my senior year, why not go ahead and enter as Hooter this year? After having the success that I did at nationals, I may enter as Hooter from here on out!”
Hooter has competed in the Louisiana High School Rodeo Association since she was in 6th grade and had a long list of accomplishments during her time there. But finishing her final year of high school rodeo competition on top in breakaway, as well as finishing 12th in the world in barrel racing and 3rd in the champion all-around cowgirl race, topped it all. “I’ve been to nationals all four years of high school, but I had missed my breakaway calf in the second round the last three years. I was so grateful to make the short round in both barrels and breakaway roping this year. Thankfully, I caught my second calf in 3.08 seconds after being a 2.4 in the first round, so I had broken that pattern. I went into the short round as 6th high call. I roped my third calf and was leading the average with 7.81 seconds on 3 calves and had to wait through the next 5 breakaway ropers. I’ll never forget sitting there watching them run one after the other, and just feeling like God had not put me in this position to be this close to winning for it to not happen. I remember thinking maybe God is going to really bless me this year. Even though I was nervous, I knew I had done the best I could and wouldn’t be upset no matter how I finished.” The mount that took Hooter to the top, was a 13-year-old bay gelding named Pistol Pete. “He’s a little spooky and quite the character, but he’s been may main guy since my freshman year. He was a heel horse, but my dad, KC Murphy, started working with him to become my breakaway horse after my mare, Joan Jett, was injured.”
Barrel racing was also a special event for Hooter at finals, as she was blessed to compete on a 14-year-old sorrel gelding named Tuff, owned by Tom and Gay O’Neal. She and Tuff ran three solid cloverleaf patterns at finals, turning in times of 15.696, 16.000, and 15.590 in the short round for a 12th in the world champion barrel racing finish. “I had only run barrels on Tuff for a month. He was a heel horse that my mom trained to barrel race several years ago. She sold him to the O’Neals, and their daughters competed on him through their high school and college rodeo careers. They’re both done rodeoing now and they were nice enough to let me ride him at the finals this year. It was really meaningful knowing that I was competing on a horse that was so special to my mom. He’s a little 14.2-hand fireball and has a blaze on his face that looks like a lightning bolt.”
“Just making the short round in barrels and breakaway roping my senior year felt like enough of an accomplishment but finishing as a world champion is amazing. As soon as it was over everyone was giving me hugs and I started getting texts and phone calls from friends and family congratulating me. My parents and grandparents, Gary and Mary Murphy, were there and we were all so excited.”
Now that she’s graduated from Central School in Grand Cane, Louisiana, Hooter will begin studying for a business degree at Panola Junior College in Carthage, Texas, where she has a full-ride rodeo scholarship.
Hooter appreciates the support of her family and sponsors: Resistol, Rattler Ropes, O’Neal Gas, Bloomer Trailers, and Cinch.