story by Lillian Landreth “I’ve always wanted to be good and have fun with it [rodeo] no matter what happens, and keep mentally preparing myself […]
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Meet the Member Mason Moody
story by Jaicee Williams
As a young boy, Mason Moody found himself drawn to one event in particular: bull riding. The 18-year-old senior from Letcher, S.D. has found lots of success in the bull riding, especially during this past year. Between the South Dakota High School Rodeo Association (SDHSRA) and professional rodeos, Mason has kept him and his family busy throughout the summer.
Since neither of his parents competed in the arena, Mason was introduced to rodeo through his three older sisters, Logan, Bailey, and Madi. Mason was often brought to the rodeos to watch his siblings as a kid. “My family always said that when we got to the rodeo I’d disappear and then show up again when the bull riding started,” Mason said.
During his sophomore year, Mason tore his ACL during basketball season. After sitting out of rodeos his sophomore year, he made the decision to quit high school sports all together. “I decided that I didn’t want something that happened during my off season to keep me from competing in rodeos,” Mason elaborated. This summer, Mason hit the rodeo trail hard, traveling to SDHSRA rodeos, Badlands Circuit rodeos, and he even had the opportunity to compete in a few PBR’s.
Mason isn’t just a bull rider, though; he also competes in calf roping and team ropes with Seth Gaikowski from Waubay, S.D. Mason qualified for the State Finals in all three of his events, but only made the National Team in the bull riding. “I came in with 30 points in the bulls and won the first round and the short round,” Mason explained. At the National High School Finals, Mason rode his first bull to be 69 points and missed making the short go by five points; however, he still ended up placing 28th in the world.
During his downtime, Mason works on the family farm for his dad, Perry. “We’re kind of partners. When I come home, I work for my dad and put up some hay or whatever is necessary.” When Perry doesn’t need him, he helps his grandpa, Jerry, with cattle management. When Mason is ready to slow down on the rodeo trail, he wants to return to his family farm and take over his grandfather’s ranch to keep it in the family to continue to pass through generations.
Jerry has always had an influence on Mason, so it makes sense that he is Mason’s biggest role model. “When you’re down, he’s the one you call to pick you up. Throughout the years, he’s taught me how to work hard and the things that a man should do.”
Mason doesn’t have a specific routine to prepare his mentality before climbing on the back of a bull; instead, he explains that he gets into the zone each time. “That’s the coolest part about riding bulls. When I crawl over in the bucking chute, it’s just black and everything is muscle memory. You have nothing but bulls on your mind,” he said.
After high school, Mason isn’t completely sure on what his plans are in terms of college. One thing he is sure of, though, is that he wants to continue his rodeo career. “I just want to see how next summer goes. I can always get a college education, but I won’t be able to ride bulls forever.”