Story by Riata Cummings Denim Wilson is the 13-year-old daughter of Dave and Tracina Wilson of Tabiona, Utah. She has a younger brother, Ryker, and […]
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Meet the Member Maklee Larsen
story by Riata Cummings
Maklee Larsen is the 14-year-old student president of the Utah Junior High School Rodeo Association. She hails from Genola, Utah, and just finished her eighth-grade year at Mt. Nebo Junior High. Maklee’s parents are Glenn and Misty Larsen, and she has a sister named Shaylee. As a family they enjoy boating, hunting, sitting around the fire and playing games when they aren’t busy traveling to and from rodeos.
Maklee grew up watching her father rodeo, and she started competing when she was 4-years-old. She now competes in the barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, goat tying, ribbon roping and team roping. She loves the “speed of barrel racing and the thrill of catching a calf,” and especially appreciates the “effort and adrenaline involved in every event.”
Maklee finished 4th in the world at the National Junior High School Finals Rodeo barrel racing in 2018, and she is a two-time state champion barrel racer and a two-time state all-around cowgirl. Maklee also competes in the Rocky Mountain Professional Rodeo Association and she finished as the 3rd place barrel racer last year. This year she finished second in the barrel racing, seventh in the breakaway roping, and second in the goat tying at UJHSRA state finals. Some of her future rodeo goals include qualifying for the National High School Finals as a freshman, winning the RMPRA barrel racing title, competing in college rodeo and rodeoing professionally.
Serving as a student officer hasn’t always been easy, especially this year, Maklee has enjoyed the enlightening experience. “My 6th grade year, one of my best friends was an officer and encouraged me to join. I have loved getting to help with the decisions like designing the state saddles and attending national meetings. Overall, I have learned how hard it is to put on a good rodeo; you can’t just throw it together overnight. I have also learned how to be more involved and how to speak up for student athletes.”
Competing in rodeo has taught Maklee that things in life aren’t always going to go your way. “Sometimes you have a bad run, but that’s how you learn. There is always another rodeo so you can’t tear yourself down.” She would encourage rodeo rookies to never give up. “Sometimes you’re in a slump, but if you want to make it to the better times after you have to keep going.”
Some of Maklee’s role models include Hailey Kinsel Lockwood and Trevor Brazile. She admires Lockwood’s horsemanship and determination to accomplish so much at a young age. She looks up to Brazile for his ability to handle his emotions and his willingness to share his talents to inspire younger athletes. Like Lockwood and Brazile, Maklee has become adept at handling herself under pressure. “I have to remind myself that a short-go run with a title on the line is just another run. They all have to be the same and I have to treat them the same, so every run gets better.”
Maklee would like to thank her parents, grandparents and friends for supporting her and helping her improve. She is grateful for the opportunity she has had to compete in the Utah Junior High School Rodeo Association, and for the people that have made her rodeo experience so special.