story by Lindsay King If Andee Jo Haden has anything to be proud of, it’s the barrel horse she’s made out of her gelding Superman. […]
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Meet the Member Kylee Jo Carder
story by Lindsay King
A quirky, roan mare and Kylee Jo Carder sit quietly together and score yet another calf from the box. The Miami, Oklahoma, duo has scored more calves in the last two years than most people score in a lifetime of rodeo. It was worth the effort though. “I never thought I would be able to rope off Andee, she was scared to death of people in the box. And the whole rodeo thing was not her set up, she was more worried about everything going on around her.” The persistence and patience took the seven-year-old mare and her jockey to the ACRA finals for the third time this year in the breakaway roping. Though it’s only been the past five or so years that rodeo made its way to the top of Kylee’s priority list. She had lots of irons in the fire as a high school athlete before heading to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in 2011.
“I lost my barrel horse my senior year of high school and when I got to college my dad said I was going to enter the breakaway. That was my sophomore year. My little sister started roping long before I did, so I would say she was my biggest competitor.” No older sister wants to let their younger sibling beat them. This lit the fire for throwing a loop that Kylee needed. Rodeo truly is a family sport for the Carders. It’s the sport Kylee’s grandparents competed in and how her parents met. “My first rodeo was the day after my third birthday and I have just been competing ever since then really.”
With goals to rope in the American and IFR one day, Kylee keeps her sights set on climbing the ladder in the ACRA. “I had high hopes of making the IFR this year but this fall I couldn’t really leave to make those final rodeos that were far off. It was just too far away and I had things here to take care of here.” One of those responsibilities includes her third year as a first-grade teacher at Rockdale Elementary School in Miami. “I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl. I enjoy teaching too much to really pursue anything else that would interfere with it.” Though The Turquoise Concho, a women’s boutique in Miami, certainly demands a certain amount of attention. “I started it online last November and then the opportunity came up last July to own a storefront. I sell everything from clothing and shoes to jewelry and accessories of all kinds.”
With a time of 1.8 seconds just before her 2018 fourth of July run, Kylee got her first taste of triumph with Andee. “Last summer, 2017, my goal was to just season my horse. I never had intentions of making the finals, but we did. And then this last year we really started winning some things and she showed me what she was made of.” The first time Kylee ever rode the mare, it was a complete disaster. It was the team that almost wasn’t. Though she has gotten more serious about rodeo, Kylee makes a point not to take herself too seriously. “The more serious I am, the worse I rope. I try to joke around and have a good time with the other ropers all while trying not to overthink anything.” As with any rodeo association, it’s the family bonds among friends that keeps Kylee coming back year after year. “The friends I have met and the life experiences I have had are the most enjoyable part of rodeo.”