Laughter is a precious commodity for “Backflip” Johnny Dudley. The rodeo clown, dubbed for his backward springs, has been splitting sides and spreading smiles […]
ProFile: Mia Manzanares
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
Mia Manzanares has come a long way since being on the cover of the Rodeo News in August of 2012. Six years later, the 21-year-old cowgirl has achieved her goals she set at that time. She will be a senior at McNeese State University and will graduate with a degree in pre physical therapy. She will continue for an additional three years to become a physical therapist.
She was in pre law for a year and half way through, she tore her ACL. After surgery with Dr. Tandy Freeman, and extensive physical therapy, she realized that what she wanted to do is help others recover from injury and get back to the sports or activities they love to do. “I made the college finals that year even though I was out for a few rodeos, but I decided not to go because of my ACL.”
She sat out for four months, the beginning of her sophomore year, and didn’t make the finals. “There’s lots of things I could have done better, but that was a rebuilding year for me. I had to trust myself again. Stacey Martin, my goat tying coach, worked with me more on the mental than physical,” she admits. “I competed for so long with it torn that I was over protective of it.” Dr. Tandy told her it would take a year before she felt 100% and he was right. She worked with some great physical therapists that helped her with workouts and machines to strengthen her leg and get her ready again. ““That’s another reason I want to pursue that.” Time is what she attributes getting past the mental part of goat tying. “I stepped off a lot and stepped off the dummy a lot. Stacey and I watched videos and really time and repetition.”
She came back her junior year, made her goal sheet, and accomplished all three of her goals, winning the Goat Tying, Breakaway Roping, and All Around titles at the 2018 CNFR. “From the beginning of the rodeo season, it was different – I’m super blessed I was able to achieve all three of those goals.”
She is spending some time relaxing in New Mexico with her horses. “We are fly fishing and hanging out.” Then she will head back and ride some colts and start all over again. “I want to break arena records – I tied an arena record this year – and hopefully next year I’ll be a 5.6 in the goat tying and break that one again and win everything I won this year. I also want to graduate and pursue my doctorate in physical therapy.”
Neither of her siblings compete. “After hauling with me when they were little, they had no desire to do it themselves. They love to watch me, but they don’t compete.” Her brother, Micah, just got accepted into a computer college and her little sister, Emma, is going to be a sophomore in high school. “I can’t believe she’ll be driving this year.” Both her parents, Pancho and Kathryn, support her and she is quick to attribute her success to them and her goat tying coach, Stacey.