story by Mackie Ford I caught up with Haze Kuykendall, an Oklahoma Junior High School Rodeo Association member and son of Justin and Mandie Kuykendall, […]
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Meet the Member Maggie Passmore
story by Lindsay King
As a seventh grader, Maggie Passmore was just shy of making the short go in the barrels at the 2018 NJHFR in South Dakota. Fueled by her goal of making the short round at nationals this time around, Maggie hit the ground running in 2019. She left state finals as the year-end champion barrel racer, finishing second in the average. This means Maggie will get her second shot at making the short round at nationals. Maggie understands the mental focus it takes to reach a stage of that size. “Two years ago, when I was competing in the AJHSRA, I was leading the barrels going into the finals. I was so excited for nationals. I ended up hitting a barrel both days and got knocked out of the top four. I have learned to be more humble since then,” said the 14-year-old. Rodeo is Maggie’s world and she believes that is why it has made the biggest impact on her life.
This Rose, Oklahoma, cowgirl also competes in poles, breakaway and team roping. “I like running barrels the best, because my horse makes it the easiest to do. I have had both of my barrel horses for a long time, so I have built a relationship with both of them.” At just four years old, Maggie started in playdays and that led her to compete in the OKJHSRA and the Indian Rodeo Association today. Consistency is key for any year-end race and is something Maggie has had to work hard at. “Being consistent is the biggest part of junior high rodeos. If you can do that, you will be sitting pretty good when the end of the year rolls around.”
Maggie keeps a piece of paper in her pocket for each run with three words written on it. “Every horse I ride has three big things that I remember for each run. Everything is coming so fast during a run that I write it down and then read it over and over before I go.” The newest addition to Maggie’s string is a team roping turned calf horse from her 18-year-old brother Griffin. “I don’t know her very well yet, but we are starting to get into a groove together. It is always easier to compete on a horse you know well.” Periodically, Maggie and Griffin will rope together at team roping jackpots. “It’s fun for the most part, but it is usually easier to rope with someone I don’t know because they don’t really tell me what to do like he does.” Maggie and Griffin’s older brother Levi, 26, is their biggest cheerleader and moral support.
“Levi has some physical and mental disabilities and I have watched him go through physical therapy. I noticed it made him feel a lot better. I either want to become a physical therapist or a vet when I grow up.” Inspired by the work ethic of her parents (Lesha and Jamie), Maggie is thankful for their constant support and guidance. “My dad has worked really hard to build us an arena to practice in and take us everywhere we need to go. My mom keeps us on top of everything. She is more like a best friend, we have a handshake that we do before every run. She goes over the game plan with me before every run.”
Heading into her freshman year at Locust Grove High School, Maggie is continuing to keep her focus solely on rodeo. She used to play both basketball and softball. As Maggie transitions out of the OKJHSRA, she reflects on the relationships she made through it. “We are a big family. I have never seen anybody that I don’t know because we are all good friends. I don’t think anybody ever feels left out of anything in the OKJHSRA.” Going to different arenas every weekend keeps things exciting for Maggie out on the rodeo trail. Despite the support from friends and family, Maggie gives all the glory to God. “None of this would be possible without him, I owe everything to God.”