story by Lindsay Humphrey Both riding Radar Cats Merada – “Radar” – sisters Terryn Harvey and Carly Grady punched their tickets for the 2022 Junior […]
Association MemberJoin Rodeo News
Meet the Member Maci York
Story by Lindsay Humphrey
Only one of Maci York’s horses is focused on a single event and that’s exactly who helped her qualify for the Junior World Finals in the senior poles. The 11-year-old palomino, Twinkie, is a bit quirky but he’s one of the horses that helped Maci step out as a fierce competitor. “He’s a one-in-a-million horse,” said the 17-year-old from Wellington, Colorado. “He’s helped make pole bending my favorite event and he’s won more money for me than anyone else. He tends to spook at just about everything, but he still knows his job and gets it done for me.” It was during the Mile Hi Barrel Race in Castle Rock, Colorado, that Maci and Twinkie blew the competition out of the water to punch their ticket to Vegas.
“We wanted to get a fast run under our belt before high school nationals and I knew there would be tough competition at the qualifier. Winning it was a huge confidence boost before heading to Wyoming.” This was the second qualifier Maci had ever entered, the first being last year, which didn’t go nearly as well as this one did. “I really appreciated how nice the ground was and that the awards made it feel like I won something special, because I did.” Looking toward Vegas, Maci has a full-send strategy that she hopes will catapult her into the second round with a fast time and lots of confidence. “My main goal is to make smooth runs and get the experience to really see what Vegas is all about. When I’m in a clean-slate first round, I always full send because there’s nothing to lose at that point.”
Poles isn’t the only event that will occupy Maci’s time in Vegas. She also qualified to breakaway rope in the Junior Patriot. She won that qualifying event held during the CHSRA event in Craig this spring. “I don’t always full send my horse. In high school rodeo you have to ride and rope smart depending on where you’re sitting.” As a five-event athlete in high school rodeo, Maci’s proven she can handle anything life has to throw at her. “Before the spring season started this year, my head horse broke her leg and we had to put her down. I was scrambling for a horse to use in team roping.” Luckily, Maci’s dad – J.C. – had a spare head horse she could borrow. Maci and Chrome got the kinks worked out by state finals. She was the only female to make it back to the short round heading for her partner, Coy Shoemaker. And that helped her win the reserve all-around title for the CHSRA.
When Maci’s rope horse passed away, she not only lost a head horse, but she also didn’t have anything to rope calves on anymore. The month before tragedy struck, Maci’s mom – Jody – bought a new head horse who had the potential to excel in the breakaway. Clearly, this new horse had a knack for calves since the pair qualified for nationals together. “Nationals didn’t really go as planned for me this year, but I learned a lot from it, and we all had a lot of fun there.” Maci first qualified for nationals in eighth grade in 2020, but she’s only gotten to compete the last two years. This was her first year cutting in high school rodeo and she grabbed fourth place at state for a chance at a national title. Cutting for less than a year now, Maci was simply thankful for the chance to compete on a state and national level so quickly.
It’s only been in the last 7 years that Maci took an interest in the family hobby: team roping. “I was probably about 10 when I wanted to go out and ride more. My parents are big team ropers, so it’s a family sport. They’ve taught almost everything I know.” It shouldn’t be surprising that Maci competes on a team roping horse in her fifth rodeo event: barrel racing. “BJ is my dad’s little, black heel horse that used to pro rodeo. He went to the Mountain State Circuit Finals heeling with TJ Watts who we bought him from, but now I use him for barrels, as a back-up breakaway horse and my dad heels on him.”