story by Lindsay Humphrey A graduate of a school known for its rodeo team – Oklahoma Panhandle State University – Austin Hawkins didn’t compete until […]
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Meet the Member Kynder Starr
story by Lindsay Humphrey
The Monday after the KPRA finals, Kynder Starr was taking her first nursing school exam at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology. “I had no idea how hard it would be to get into nursing school, especially after already having a degree,” said the Catoosa, Oklahoma, barrel racer. “It was really crazy and stressful, but now I have two years of school ahead of me.” Moving forward Kynder is excited for the exponential opportunities nursing will provide. She’s thinking about specializing in several different areas. But mostly, she’s excited for the flexible work schedule nursing provides. Kynder got her bachelor’s degree in business administration and human resources from Rogers State University after spending two years at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. She landed down south thanks to a full-ride rodeo scholarship before coming back to Oklahoma to finish her degree.
The road to that scholarship began long before Kynder was born as her mom grew up riding horses. She passed this on to Kynder and then the roller coaster ride began. “I didn’t do a whole lot of junior rodeos or anything until I was about 12. I had a horse pass away right after I was done running her at a rodeo when I was 8 years old.” After that Kynder’s mom decided to get her a life-long rodeo partner. “That’s when my mom bought Dillion. She said I was going to high school, college, and pro rodeo on him. The chances of that were slim of course, but he actually turned out to be a really nice horse.”
Dillion was the glue that knit Kynder and her mom together through high school rodeo. “I won a lot on Dillion. He was very personable, he was just like a person. He’s the one that started my rodeo addiction.” Dillion and Kynder even won the IFYR twice together. He carried Kynder through her freshman year of rodeo and they made it to the CNFR in barrels. After returning from Wyoming, tragedy struck. “Dillion got pneumonia and I ended up having to put him down. It was really hard for both my mom and I.” Just a few months before the CNFR Kynder bought Hurley, a 5-year-old gelding that needed some more seasoning to become her next rodeo horse.
“Hurly did pretty well for me that summer, he helped keep my spirits up before I went back to school. Then he got hurt and I couldn’t use him for the fall semester.” Although running Hurly has it’s up and downs, the duo is finally hitting their stride. They ran at both the KPRA and ACRA finals and are currently qualified for the IPRA. “Normally I like to go to the Indian finals in Vegas, but they canceled that this year. I only have one horse to run right now, so I try not to haul him a lot. I don’t want to haul his legs off; I want to keep him firing and feeling good.”
Competing in the KPRA lends itself to Kynder’s need to compete close to home. Not only are there rodeos in Kansas, co-sanctioned events are sometimes only a few hours away from Kynder’s central Oklahoma location. “This is my second year in the KPRA. I like that they co-sanction with a lot of other rodeos I go to: ACRA and IPRA. It’s nice to get to buy another card and go to another finals.” At last year’s finals event in Dodge City, Kansas, Kynder let her presence be known. Kynder took third in the first round, second in the next round and then won the short round and average. “I’ve never hauled enough to win a year-end award in an association before. Maybe it’s because there have been fewer rodeos this year, but I would like to try to win one this year.”