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World Champion Kiera Mavity
story by Lily Landreth
Kiera Mavity is the 2019 NLBRA Junior Girl World Champion Pole Bender. The 13-year-old from Dickinson, North Dakota, set her goal of winning a pole bending title when she joined as a Little Wrangler in 2016. She finished fifth in the world her rookie year. Moving into the junior girls division proved an additional challenge, but Kiera persisted in expanding her skills over the years, missing the short go by a narrow margin the next two years but going into the 2019 NLBFR with confidence. To her delight, she and her new horse Baylee, whom Kiera has been riding since Easter, ran the second 20-second pole run of Kiera’s career in the first go. She ran another 20 in the second go, little realizing that she was headed to the short go sitting first in the average and finals standings. Kiera’s time of 20.6 put her seventh in the short-go standings, and it wasn’t until after she’d taken care of Baylee and returned to playing with her plastic horses by the trailer that she learned she was a world champion.
“Patience and determination is always key to achieving goals. That’s what I learned from rodeoing in Little Britches, and it’s done me a great deal of good in everything,” says Kiera. She and her family heard about the association from her cousins and jumped into the Badlands and Big Sky Little Britches franchises. “The first time we went to the Finals, we had no idea what to expect. We didn’t realize the gravity of it,” says Kathy Mavity, Kiera’s mom. “The Lazy E is such a family-friendly place to have a finals. You can trust that your children can go over to the food shacks and come back safely, and we love that they put in a new path for the horses to come straight over to the covered practice arena. We really look forward to that family trip, and the (champion) saddle was just the icing on the cake. A big reason we do Little Britches is that my children can all compete and be part of it.”
Kiera competes in the NLBRA with her brother and sister, Luke (15) and Jessa (9), and the siblings spend many hours in the practice pen together. “Up in North Dakota we have three good months to practice, so we’ve had to put many miles on the truck to get to indoor facilities and the kids are accustomed to riding in snow pants,” says Kathy. Along with her parents, Kathy and Shawn, and her siblings, Kiera also attributes her success to the help of her rodeo friends Sofie Huff and Blu Miller, the coaching of Jon and Tisa Peak, and pointers from renowned pole bending clinician Ken Smith, who sold Baylee to the Mavitys. “Baylee knows when it’s grain time and she’ll stand there and dance,” says Kiera, who spent many hours getting to know Baylee this spring to build their bond. Her family has seven horses, and she and her brother help each other train and exercise their horses. They also enjoy riding around their family’s land, practicing with friends in Bowman, North Dakota, or riding in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, North Dakota.
Although Kiera would prefer to be with her horses the day long, she also enjoys school as a seventh-grader at Dickinson Middle School. Reading is her all-time favorite class, and she’s read many of the horse books the library has to offer. Kiera also enjoys playing clarinet in her school’s band. On Wednesdays, she helps teach Kindergarteners at her church school. Kiera and her family love to watch Christmas movies together, and their kitchen table games of Uno can get pretty competitive.
“When I want to achieve something, it’s a must-do thing for me because it bothers me if I have a goal unfinished,” says Kiera. “What I’m working on is going back and doing what I did when I won the World, which is running and knowing my horse. My short-term goal is to trust and believe in my horse more than I already do, and my long-term goal is to win Junior High Nationals in pole bending.”