story by Lindsay Humphrey A graduate of a school known for its rodeo team – Oklahoma Panhandle State University – Austin Hawkins didn’t compete until […]
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Meet the Members Dawson and Jessica McMaster
story by Michele Toberer
Dawson and Jessica McMaster have “McMastered” their respective events and are sitting at the top in the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association while having the time of their lives. Both from longtime Kansas rodeo families, Dawson a 9+ heeler, has competed in all levels of rodeo, from junior to professional, and has had success along the way. Jessica, a header and breakaway roper, has been finding a bright side to the fact that she’s been furloughed from her position as a traveling nurse, due to the Covid-19 situation, and the couple has used the extra time to burn up the rodeo roads. “I don’t think we’ve ever had this much time to rodeo this hard. We’re traveling and hitting as many rodeos as we can, and it feels great to have the success we’re having as a result.”
Dawson and Jessica met at a team roping years ago. Both competed in the KHSRA, although they graduated in different classes, and both college rodeoed at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. They’ve been members of the KPRA for the past 5 years and enjoy competing at the rodeos. Dawson said, “We’ll often drive further to compete at a KPRA rodeo because the rodeos are run well, and they do a great job putting them together. We enjoy seeing the tight-knit group of friends we have in the association. The KPRA finals are fantastic, I think the best in the tri-state area; they pay nearly double per rounds than most associations around here.”
Jessica calls herself a ranch kid that mainly headed and frequented USTRC team roping jackpots but is really enjoying this immersion into the rodeo world. “I’ve had some knee injuries and surgeries to overcome the past few years. I was at a point of just giving it all up, feeling like I was on the injured reserve list. But I’ve been riding a bike to strengthen my joints and feel like this is my comeback year! It’s exciting to be focusing a little more on breakaway roping and doing well in it.” Jessica is the daughter of Wes and Andra Miller, and she and her brothers, Jacob and Joel, as well as Dawson, all work on her family’s Miller Farm and Ranch in Madison, Kansas. They raise cow/calf pairs, farm, and make custom hay.
After high school, Jessica attended NWOSU, and then transferred to Emporia State University to complete her nursing degree in 2014. Jessica is grateful to ride her 9-year-old palomino gelding, Corn Cob in breakaway roping. “His name was a joke initially but kind of stuck, and it’s a little silly, but he’s quite the character so it works. He’s really taken me to the next level, and Dawson has helped me a lot with my calf roping; I used to top-knot a lot of calves because of throwing a header loop. I’ve ridden Corn Cob for three years and qualified for KPRA finals each of those years. We just keep getting better together.”
Dawson graduated from NWOSU in 2013 with a degree in health and sports science and a minor in sports psychology and kinesiology. He also has a farm and ranch management degree. As a college rodeo competitor, he qualified for the CNFR and won a round heeling there in 2010. He was the 2017 KPRA Champion Heeler and has qualified for the KPRA finals 5 times. He’s qualified multiple times for the PRCA Prairie Circuit Finals, recently qualified for the Ram Circuit finals, and has won multiple regional rodeo association titles. He’s been heeling for Nick Becker the past two KPRA seasons and hopes to clinch the KPRA championship with him later this year. Dawson’s parents, Donnie McMaster and Doenne Brown both rodeoed, and his dad, an accomplished bull rider, now works as a rodeo judge. Dawson rides Smoke, a 9-year-old bay gelding that was given to him as a 3-year-old by Jessica’s grandfather. Dawson enjoys his work on the ranch, and guides deer and turkey hunts there each fall.
“We are so grateful to our family for letting us be gone as much as we are rodeoing, and for God because he gives you that wind to keep going when you need it. And we appreciate Fastback ropes for their continued support!”