story by Lindsay Humphrey Spending time with family and friends is just a fringe benefit of competing in rodeo for Phillip Jiron from Isleta, New […]
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Meet the Member Maylin Navarrette
story by Lindsay King
Like many junior high rodeo competitors, Maylin Navarrette’s last year in the NMJHSRA came to a screeching halt this spring. She’s keeping her head up and putting a positive spin on the situation. “I have some young horses that I need to train and work on. Without the spring rodeo season, I had more time to get them in shape and ready for next year,” said the wise 13-year-old. Maylin, or May for short, runs barrels and poles in junior high rodeo but also ties goats. She intended to add breakaway roping and heading this season but will have to settle for debuting them as a freshman in the fall.
As a first-generation rodeo competitor, May is the daughter of avid team ropers – Gilbert and Terry – and has a brother, Vincente, 22, who also grew up roping. “I had a pony at first and then I got my brother’s horse and she was really good at team roping. I started doing barrels on her and then just kept learning new events.” May took up roping just last year, patiently waiting to join the family in the heading box. She knows the roping events will help her be more competitive in the race for all-around titles. For now, she has her sights set on the KK Run for Vegas. “One of my goals is to make it to Vegas in either barrels or poles. Last year we didn’t know about them in time to try to qualify, but now we have more time.”
Poles is May’s favorite event, all thanks to her mount – 14-year-old, chocolate brown Sinbad. “I’ve had him for three years and neither he nor I knew much about poles when he first arrived. He started to get the hang of them. We just kept getting better and better. Now he likes them better than barrels.” The almost black gelding also has quite the personality. “He has a tendency to always shake his head and play with his bit, and he always sticks his tongue out for no reason. He’s very playful.”
Not only did May learn the finer points of goat typing from Cassidy Eakin, but she also purchased Sindbad from her mom. Coming from a team roping family, all these new events presented a challenge for May and her parents. “When I first started goats, we had to look everything up on YouTube because we knew nothing about it. Both of my parents have really helped me learn everything.” May’s mom, Terry, is the one who finds all the clinics and rodeos to attend. May and Gilbert go wherever she tells them is best. It’s very much a team dynamic for May and her parents, it works well for them as they travel down the rodeo trail.
The first arena May ever competed in was at the Eddy County Junior Rodeo Association in Artesia. To this day that is still her favorite arena. It holds a lot of memories for May and evidently good luck also. “Everything has started for me in that arena. That’s the first place I ran Sinbad and I always seem to do well in barrels and poles there.” When May first started to compete in rodeo it was simply for the fun of it. As she got more competitive, May found herself getting frustrated. “I was upset that I wasn’t as good as everyone else. My dad told me that there was more losing than winning in rodeo and that’s just how it works. He’s always told me to work hard for what I want. We practice day and night and I think now it is starting to pay off. You just have to know that you never give up.”