On The Trail with Madison Outhier
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
Madison “Madi” Outhier has been competing in rodeo since she was one. “I started in the lead line,” said the 16-year-old sophomore who made history by winning both the Junior American and the American in the breakaway roping on March 3 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. “I started roping when I was 8.” Helping her get the win was her equine partner, Rooster, a 10-year-old gelding that was raised on the ranch and trained by her dad, Mike.
“Rooster is amazing. My dad let me start roping off him when he was seven, three years ago. He didn’t let me ride him too much because he would stop way too hard for my roping abilities. We are so molded together – he’s the sweetest horse in the barn. When I saddle him, he turns his head and nudges me. He goes wherever we need to go with a great attitude.”
Rooster is a grandson of Colonel Freckles and a son of Gallo De Cielo. His mom is Colonel C Hermosa, a horse that was raised on the Outhier ranch as part of the LA Waters Quarter Horse breeding program started in the 1970s by Madi’s grandparents, Lou and Wanda Waters. “Colonel Freckles was a futurity Champ and one of the best cutting horses around,” explains Mike, who is Madi’s main coach. I had Rooster ready three years ago, but Madi wasn’t. We worked on position and the basics. Madi works real hard at rodeo and she’s so coachable.” Mike competed in both ends of the arena; bareback, saddle bronc, bull riding, calf roping, team roping, steer wrestling, and steer roping. He entered his first International Pro Rodeo at the age of 15 and went to the International Finals Rodeo, winning the All Around in 1995, 1996, and 1997. He made four appearances at the Wrangler National Finals, 2001 – 2004, competing in saddle bronc riding. He won the PRCA Linderman Award twice; 2004 and 2007. Through rodeo, Mike has developed a huge circle of friends that have been instrumental in his daughter’s success. His good friend, Ricky Canton, is a huge part of it. “He always keeps us in calves and puts on ropings every Saturday and Sunday in the fall and winter. It’s really helped her roping- she’s roping against girls that have roping schools of their own.”
Madi also honed her horsemanship skills by playing polo, something her mom, Kristy, did professionally for 25 years. She played her last polo match last year, retiring to stay home with her family and help Mike with the horses that they train and sell .“Polo has helped me a lot with my competition skills, my mind set,” said Madi. “You have an hour and a half to make up your mistakes in polo, in rodeo you have 2 seconds and then you have to drive home. I bring my polo mindset to rodeo – and don’t get too stressed out.”
All that support and Rooster’s incredible abilities have paid off greatly this year. They won the Junior NFR in Vegas in the 15 and under; Joe Beaver 15 and under, Cody Ohl and won second in Lari Dee Guy’s open breakaway.
The family ranch is in Utopia, Texas, but they also have a place in Fulshear, 30 minutes from the middle of Houston, where they live during the week so Madi and her younger brother, Ace, can attend school. “Mom has a big polo barn. We live in a little house attached to the barn. Rooster is 200 feet away from my bedroom. We have polo fields out front that our family built.”
Ace (11), is involved in baseball, basketball, football, fishing, and hunting. They both work hard at school. “School is very important to me and my family. I play basketball as well so basically ever since school started I’ve had basketball, then come home and rope and then homework. I work really hard to keep all As, but it’s worth it to keep good grades to get into a good college.” Kristy handles all the communication with school when Madi has to take time off to attend rodeos. “The teachers know I work hard and they give me my work and I usually get it done before I leave.”
Besides polo, rodeo, basketball, and school, Madi has another passion – acting. “I was an actress and that’s all I wanted to do when I was 9. We spent one summer living in New York City. My mom had a couple of polo jobs in upstate New York that summer. I had won an acting competition that gave me an agent in New York City that sent me on auditions, sometimes three a day… all summer,” she said. “I was in a couple movies with Robert Duvall. That’s what I did and what I loved.” She was also in a fabulous children’s movie called “Charlie, A Toy Story.”
She missed the ranch, though, and they came home. “It’s so much different when you have a whole ranch in Texas versus a tiny little apartment in New York City. My mom was so awesome to support me in taking me there, but they didn’t want to live there either. I had an agent in Houston that I still do auditions for, but a year ago I started focusing on everything else I was doing. It was too much to balance rodeo, basketball, school, – I still love the acting world – in fact Robert Duvall called my dad to congratulate me.” She felt the experience with acting gave her the skills to interview, something she has done a lot of since winning the American.
Madi found out about the Junior American through the International Finals Youth Rodeo. “We signed up there and I went to a few others – Joe Beaver and Cody Ohl had qualifiers. Joe Beaver is also where I qualified for the open breakaway.” She had two spots in the Junior American and two spots in the main semi finals.
After she won the Junior American short go on Friday, at the Will Rogers Memorial Stadium in Ft. Worth., she moved to the fifth round of the semi qualifiers at Cowtown Coliseum. “I honestly think I used up all my nerves in the semifinals. Once I made it to AT&T I knew I had accomplished my main goal. I was just like okay, get this one run at a time. Three runs. The last one was a 2.2 – my fastest time is a 1.7 at Ricky Canton’s roping. I was a 1.9 to win the Junior American at Will Rogers. I was actually a 1.9 three times that week. I’m usually not that fast.” She gives her dad the credit for that. “My dad giving me the perfect start. He can watch the calf and how long the box and barrier is. And then the calves were great there all week. We kept a list on them and we watched a video on them.” After that, she just remembers what he told her and nods her head. “Tip down, throw down. Look at the shoulder.”
After that win, what’s next for this young roper? She competes in barrel racing and cutting, but breakaway is her favorite event. “I get direct results – the horse is a huge part of it, but I have control of the winnings because it’s myself doing the roping.” She practices every day – she ropes on Rooster and one other practice horse and I rope between 10 and 20 calves every day. I try to rope the dummy too.”
College is definitely in the future. “I really don’t know what I want to do – I love the business industry, I’ll get into that like my grandpa did. My mom’s dad (Lou Waters) has taught me how to act and be and go about things. He’s such a respected and humble man.” Madi is quick to give her parents the credit for her success. “They taught me all their horsemanship skills and to stay humble and take everything as a blessing. I pray to God every night. They’ve showed me how to live.”