Meet the Member Joe Stoddard
story by Lillian Landreth Many a high school rodeo athlete has been shaped by Joe Stoddard’s contributions to the sport, from his blood relations to […]
story by Lily Weinacht
Siarra Johnson, a senior from Castlewood, S.D., won the 2015 SDHSRA Barrel Racing Champion title this spring. Not only was it the 17-year-old’s first state high school title, but it sent her to the NHSFR for the first time since she started high school rodeoing. “Nationals was pretty huge and crazy, but I definitely loved it, and I got to meet a bunch of new people,” says Siarra. “My first run didn’t go quite as planned, but my second run was the best time I’ve ever had, and it ended up placing us pretty high in that round. It was my favorite trip this summer since my entire family came for the week and we got to experience Nationals together.”
The first of her family to compete in rodeo, Siarra started out by taking horseback riding lessons, then showing her horse, Annie, in 4-H. When she was 12, Siarra had finished showing, and at her parents’ urging to find something else to do with her horse, she chose rodeo. “My dad has really motivated me, because in whatever we do, he wants me and my siblings to give it our best and prepare in the best possible way. Every year I come out to rodeo and I’ll surprise myself, or my horses will do something they’ve never done before and I look forward to that every year!”
Today, Siarra competes in barrel racing, pole bending, and goat tying, with barrel racing placing first in her list of favorites. She won the NBHA 1D youth division state title in 2014. “I like that you and your horse really have to be a team, and that you’re constantly racing against the clock.” She adds, “Cami Bauer trained my barrel horse for three months, and I really look up to her because she’s been successful and I admire how hard she works at everything.”
Siarra and her parents, Paul and Robyn Johnson, and her six brothers, Brock, Gunnar, Ryder, Izaac, Camron, and Bennett, make their home in the country outside of Castlewood. The third oldest of her siblings, Siarra says, “I feel like a pretty well-rounded, tough person with all these brothers. I don’t get intimidated by much anymore!” Inspired by their sister, Ryder rides bulls and Camron and Bennet have started 4-H rodeo this year. The other half of Siarra’s family includes her horses. “Annie is my barrel horse – she was bred for showing, but she became a really good barrel horse,” Siarra explains. “She’s my baby since I learned how to ride on her as a little girl, and she’s taken me to a lot of great wins and made a lot of memories for me. My goat horse is Stella – she’s about 20 years old and she has a lot of heart. Iceman is my six year old that I’m starting in barrels and poles. He’s in the stage where he’s not quite mature yet, but I think he’ll make a really good horse someday.”
A senior at Castlewood High School, Siarra especially enjoy English and science. She is eager to graduate, and plans to jump right into college rodeo and qualify for the CNFR. During her free time, however, she enjoys visiting her grandparent’s farm nearby and going on trips with her older brothers, playing kickball with her family, or helping Camron and Bennett practice.
Siarra concludes, “I’d like to make it back to Nationals next year and finish in the top 20, then college rodeo and see where that takes me. I’d like to thank my parents and grandparents and friends for always supporting me, and pushing and motivating me to be the best I can in whatever I choose to do!”
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