story by Lindsey Fancher Despite the two compression fractures in 11-year-old cowgirl Blake Weekley’s back, the incoming sixth grader from Boerne, Texas still manages to […]
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Meet the Member Madalyn Richards
Madalyn Richards from Hereford, Texas, has been rodeoing in the AJRA since she was nine. She won the AJRA world goat tying title in 2014, and this year, added the TJHRA breakaway roping title to her rodeo résumé. Winning the title during her rookie year of junior high rodeo made the accomplishment all the sweeter for the 13 year old. “Nationals was really fun,” Madalyn says of her first trip to Des Moines, Iowa. “It was way bigger than any rodeo I’ve ever been to, plus I played a lot of cards with my friends and got to know them a lot better since the rodeo was longer.
“I enjoy everything about rodeo, and being with my friends and their families and my horses – it’s just fun!” says Madalyn, who competes in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, ribbon roping, and team roping as the heeler. Her parents, Joe and Brandi, both grew up riding, while Joe rodeoed through high school and college. “Madalyn definitely got the rodeo bug!” Brandi says with a laugh. “She went to her first barrel race when she was five for a cousin’s birthday party, and started rodeoing the next year.” Madalyn’s dad has been her greatest inspiration and coach, joining her in the arena every time she practices. Jackie Hobbs Crawford and Lynn Smith have also proved inspirational to the cowgirl, who has attended several of their clinics. “I enjoy breakaway roping and goat tying the best,” says Madalyn. She takes the amount of personal effort that goes into those events very seriously.
Madalyn and her parents and her nine-year-old sister, Lucy, live just outside of Hereford. They run a cattle feedyard, and when she is not helping her dad work cattle, Madalyn is in the arena practicing, scarcely missing a day of roping and riding. She and Lucy, who also competes in the AJRA, help each other in the arena. Exercising horses, including her rodeo horses, is one of Madalyn’s favorite jobs. In the barrel racing, pole bending, and goat tying, she competes on a seven-year-old gelding named Jack that she and her family trained. Chester, a 24-year-old gelding that used to be Joe’s roping horse, is Madalyn’s mount in the breakaway and ribbon roping, while Molly, a 12-year-old mare, is her team roping horse. “Madalyn’s granddad found Chester and Jack,” Brandi explains. “Joe has owned Chester since he was three, and that horse is a large portion of Madalyn’s success. He gives her every opportunity when she comes across the line.”
When she’s not in the saddle, Madalyn enjoys a variety of interests. She went to several basketball camps this summer, and when she is home, experiments with baking and decorating cakes. Madalyn skis as much as she can during the winter, but her horses keep her on the move. She will also be a seventh grader at Vega Junior High School this fall, where she will be playing on the junior high basketball team, but rodeo remains the sport she loves best.
The hours Madalyn has spent on mental and physical preparation helped her to win the 12 and Under Goat Tying during Joe Beaver’s Junior Roping Association Finals in 2014. Many of her current goals include beating her personal records and improving with every run. She adds, “I’d like to go to Nationals again next year, this time in breakaway roping and goat tying,” said this year’s AJRA champion goat tyer.