Lucas Camac proved to be no underdog in the Central Plains Rodeo Association (CePRA) as he climbed the ladder from sitting sixth in the standings […]
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
At 15 years old, a high school sophomore stepped out in a woman’s world to prove that age does not matter when it comes to tough barrel racing competition. In her first year as a member of the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association (CPRA), Morgan Olson entered the finals sitting 12th in the standings, but after winning the first and second go-rounds, along with the average, climbed the ladder quickly to finish the season in eighth. “We were going into the third-round pretty strong, but my horse had a hard time getting through the mud,” she said of her fifth place finish in the third-go.
Not setting out to expand her associations, Morgan mainly competes in the National Little Britches Rodeo Association (NLBRA), but had entered early CPRA rodeos with her older brothers (Tyler, 24 and Brandon, 18), who are bull riders within the organization. Her first show out, Morgan ended up splitting third and fourth at the Cripple Creek Cowboy Gathering in Cripple Creek, Colo. “After I found that I could compete, we ended up going to more,” she explained. She then entered five other rodeos along the way.
Growing up in Franktown, Colo., where her family continues to reside today, Morgan was born into the world of rodeo, as her dad (Randy) competed in all three rough stock events. His love for an eight-second high was then passed to both of Morgan’s older brothers. While her mom (Karen) never competed, she is one of Morgan’s biggest fans. “Mom was a city girl and didn’t start going to rodeos until after she met Dad, but she loves going to the rodeos and is very supportive of us,“ said Morgan. Brandon started riding in the NLBRA at 10 years old, where Morgan spent a few years in the stands as his cheerleader. “When I was old enough, I decided that I wanted to do it too,” she said. “But I wasn’t doing well on the horse that I was competing on, so we bought my mare about four years ago from Kalli and Toni Palen.”
With the help of the Palen’s, Morgan has spent many hours turning the 11-year old chestnut (Dezi) into a barrel horse. “I owe a lot to them [Kalli and Toni Palen], along with Marcy Henderson [CPRA breakaway roper] and her parents Mark and Moni, who has helped me with my riding,” she stated. The hard work and dedication has proved to be beneficial as Morgan finished out the season as the runner-up to the Rookie of the Year in the CPRA, along with fifth in the world standings of the NLBRA. She says that her biggest inspiration in rodeo is split between her dad and her brother. “Dad is always supportive and helps in pushing me to do better, but Brandon is the one who got me into it,” she said.
Now, at 16-years old, Morgan attends Douglas County High School near Castle Rock, Colo., where she extends her extracurricular activities to girls soccer and plays the forward position. She says that she is targeting her future towards a rodeo scholarship and would like to attend either Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., or Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Okla. “I’m thinking about going into nursing or finishing as a vet tech., but I’m not 100 percent sure yet,” she said.
Securing a root system within the CPRA, Morgan intends on continuing her competition within the organization. “I want to make the finals again, but would like to go in sitting a little higher,” she said of next season’s goal. “I would also like to work my way to winning the year-end title.”