Sawyer Barham has been roping with Kolton Schmidt for two years. “He’s four hours away,” said Sawyer, the 2015 CNFR Team Roping Champion Heeler. Four […]
When it comes to rodeo moms, Rickki Moyer ranks top notch. Splitting her time between her own competition and that of her two kids (Mattox, 7, and Merrick, 5), she still manages to complete her job and volunteer her time as a youth rodeo secretary. “I’m to the point to where I go when my kids aren’t. They come first and I would rather watch them compete and follow their dreams,” she encouraged. Nevertheless, Rickki is a tough barrel racer to go up against as she qualified for the finals in her first year with the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association (KPRA). “Not only, do they have a great finals with lots of added money, they keep good added money flowing throughout the season,” she said of the positive first impression and included, “The rodeos are in good proximity to where we live, and when my kids are junior rodeoing during the day, we can still hit my rodeos at night.”
Rickki says that she has been running for as long as she can remember, getting her base from her dad (Boyd Hughes), who was a team roper. Although her mom (Brenda) is not a horse person, Rickki says, “My parents are very active supporters. They followed me all through college and still make my kids’ rodeos every weekend.” Rickki’s love for the sport found her competing in the National Little Britches Rodeo Association, Tri-State High School Rodeo Association and was later a member of the Oklahoma State University (OSU) rodeo team for four years. Because OSU did not offer rodeo scholarships, Rickki’s dedication was what kept her going, as she was the only one to compete her freshman year. “I was born and bred to go to OSU, so I was there because I want to be,” she said.
She walked away from OSU with a degree in education and was a Title-1 reading specialist for middle school students before stepping down and is now the bookkeeper for Moyer Electric – a business owned by her husband (Shawn). “It’s a lot of work, but it’s nice to make my own schedule,” she said. Shawn can also be found in the arena working the team roping on occasion. “He kind of takes the short end of the stick when it comes to rodeoing, because there is not a whole lot of time between me and the kids, but he is a good sport about it,” said Rickki. A majority of their time is dedicated to hauling their kids to the Northwest Oklahoma Junior Rodeos (NWOJR) in the summer and the Heart of Oklahoma Youth Rodeo Association in the winter. Mattox, has advanced to a higher age group this year, and competes in the barrels, goat tying, calf and steer breakaway. “He was able to make the Chute-Out Round of the dummy roping at the USTRC Finals and finished third,” said a proud mom. Merrick competes in the barrels, poles, goats and dummy roping. “They both really like it,” said Rickki.
When it seems that her plate is full, Rickki has pulled together with other moms to volunteer as a rodeo secretary at the NWOJR. “It’s just to make it better for the kids,” she said. It seems fitting though, as Boyd co-founded the association in the early 90s.
While she says that it is hard to set goals, she would like to qualify for the KPRA and TCRA finals again, while also getting a younger horse going. “I’m thinking that it won’t be too long before my kids take my two over, so I’ve got to get some others on the line,” she said. The Woodward, Okla., resident also expands her associations to the TCRA, NBHA, BBR and WPRA, where she competes in the Prairie Circuit when there is time. “You’re there to be competitive, but you’re also competing against friends; you’re there to win and encourage,” she said of why she likes to rodeo.