story by Lindsay Humphrey “I was born carrying a rope.” It’s a bold statement from 14-year-old Gunnar Tipton who’s been roping calves and heels competitively […]
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Meet the Member Tiffanie McCormick
story by Lindsay King
Strong, resilient, conquerors: just a few words to describe the spirit of the McCormick family from Lakewood, New Mexico. Two broken arms did not stop 13-year-old Tiffanie from keeping up her end of the bargain in the short round of the ribbon roping at the NMJHSRA state finals last year. “Two semis were parked next to each other and everyone was jumping from each one. I clipped my toe and fell between the semis. I fractured my left wrist and broke my right,” said the barrel, pole, ribbon and breakaway roping competitor. All of this just before the short round at state finals, Tiffanie had to take a no time on her breakaway and barrel run. “I did not want to let my ribbon roping partner down, I had my right arm taped to my back and my left out to grab the ribbon. All my friends were there to support me, telling me that I could do it and that if it hurt too much to just walk away.”
Working through the pain is a family trait, shared by Tiffanie’s older brother Tyler, 24, who tore his ACL twice. “He taught me that even when you get hurt it is not time to give up.” In addition, her mother Tania McCormick who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in 2017 but continues to make every rodeo to watch her kids. “There is no other place I would rather be than at the New Mexico rodeos with Tiffanie and Bryce, 18. Tiffanie is such a big help, she makes sure I am set up comfortably in the stands before she gets ready to compete,” Tania said.
Rodeoing for life is a McCormick tradition, starting with Tiffanie’s grandfather Kellie McCormick who went to college on a rodeo scholarship, as did her father Shawn and brother Tyler, Bryce will be doing the same in August. “When my brother went to college on a rodeo scholarship, that is when I realized I wanted to do the same. It is a family tradition and I just love rodeo.” Two days before breaking both her arms, Tiffanie got a new barrel horse, Cheetah. She had surgery and was out for several weeks while her arms healed. “It has been a rough year for my partner and I in the ribbons. And I have been playing catch up getting to know my new horse, learning how to guide her and all that.” Regardless, Tiffanie placed in the money every time she ran at the Patriot this past spring, even making the short go.
She also qualified for the BBR finals in Oklahoma City on her old barrel horse, Annabelle, Bryce’s head horse and Cheetah. “My proudest moment in rodeo so far was qualifying on Annabelle, she was never supposed to be a fast barrel horse, yet here we are.” Annabelle had colic surgery and is legging back up.
Tiffanie aspires to make a career out of rodeo, but also has plans to become a surgeon like her great uncle Lew McCormick. “I have always wanted to help people and that is the way that I want to do it, by making people better.” Tiffanie is thankful for her family and her sponsors for getting her down the rodeo road. “OE Nutraceuticals, Rope Fast and Ride Fierce have been there since day one, giving me supplies and funds to keep rodeoing. My other sponsor, Truth Saddlery, has helped me remember that God is always on my side in life.” She is also thankful for her trainer and coach Tauna Alcorn.
Her dream rodeo to compete in is the American, after watching a girl younger than her Tiffanie realized she could compete there as well. “My mom always helps me at the big races when I see all the big shots and start thinking I am just a small shot. She tells me it does not matter who I am running against, all that matters is the run I put down.” Her mother is her biggest fan, no matter the run Tiffanie puts down.