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Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
Michal Robertson is a barrel racer and pole bender in the Kansas High School Rodeo Association. The 18 year old cowgirl lives in Garden Plain, Kan., just outside Wichita, and loves barrels more than any other event. “Chasing cans is pretty fun,” she says.
Her barrel horse is a ten year old named Ty. He started his rodeo career as a heading horse for Michal’s dad, but Michal and her dad realized that Ty was pretty athletic and they should give him a try on barrels. So Ty went to a trainer, came back, and “he’s pretty darn good,” she says. Michal has purchased him from her dad and is making payments on him, but her dad still uses the horse occasionally for team ropings.
Michal’s pole horse is a 19 year old sorrel named Buddy who is new to her. He was going to be her main barrel horse, but she realized “he’s a smoking good pole horse.” This is Michal’s first year to run poles, so it’s a learning experience for her, even though Buddy has run poles for years. “It’s definitely a work in progress,” she says. Buddy is not very understanding, she jokes. “He’s like, ‘what are you doing?’ He gets really impatient.”
Michal is a senior at Garden Plain High School, where she is taking five online college classes. In her marketing management class, she is head of the marketing team for the school’s café, “The Nest.” Students bake cookies, popcorn chicken, nachos, and corn dogs, and make slushies and coffee and sell them to their classmates during the day. The class is in charge of the café’s finances, purchases, and marketing, and they gain business experience through the class. “I love it,” she says.
She is a member of the gifted program, is on the honor roll, and is a member of the Farm Credit Academic Team for the Kansas High School Rodeo Association. She is the event director for the tie-down roping.
Her unusual name is pronounced “Michael,” and comes from the Bible. David’s first wife was named Michal, and her mom and dad thought it flowed well with her older sister’s name, Morgan. She’s thankful her last name is easy to pronounce. Announcers struggle with “Michal.” “When they have this dramatic pause before they say my (first) name, and then they say Robertson, I know it’s me,” she laughs.
After high school, Michal plans to attend junior college, compete in collegiate rodeo, and then go on to finish her bachelor’s at a four year college. She’d like to get her Women’s Pro Rodeo Association card. She has a five year old horse coming who is doing very well in the barrels. “She’s very, very good,” she says. “She’s green. We’re taking it easy so I can run her in a couple years, so she is sound, and sound-minded.” For the last two years, Michal has finished in the top fifteen at the state level in the barrels.
Her older sister, Morgan, is 25 and played basketball at La Salle University in Philadelphia and pro ball in Europe. She is the daughter of Bill and Lita Robertson.