ALVA, Okla. – Sometimes she who makes the fewest mistakes grabs great rewards.
Such is the case for Northwestern Oklahoma State University breakaway roper Katie Lackey of Ardmore, Okla., who posted two solid times this past weekend at the Garden City (Kan.) Community College rodeo. The result was a third-place finish in the southwestern Kansas community.
“It ended up working out in my favor that I played it safe in the short round,” said Lackey, a sophomore. “I just made sure I got a time put in.”
Lackey posted a 3.1-second run to finish in a three-way tie for eighth place the first round, then followed it with a 4.5 to tie for second in the championship round. Her 7.6-second cumulative time on the two runs earned her a top 3 finish overall.
As the third breakaway roper to compete in the final round, she first made sure she wasn’t penalized at the start by breaking the barrier, which receives a 10-second penalty for not allowing the calf the adequate head start. Then she made sure to secure the catch, which took a little longer than she would typically like.
“I’ve watched a few short-goes, and I know there’s always going to be some situations where girls miss or they break the barrier,” she said. “At that point, I could’ve tried to risk it, but I didn’t know if I’d be fast enough to win the average.”
Slow and steady may not win the race, but it turned into a big move for the 20-year-old cowgirl. She was one of four Northwestern women to accumulate points in the seventh rodeo of the 2015-16 Central Plains Region, joining barrel racers Sara Bynum of Beggs, Okla., and Cassy Woodward of Dupree, S.D., and goat-tier Shayna Miller of Faith, S.D.
While Woodward made the final round in her event, Bynum put together two solid runs to finish in a tie for fourth place. Bynum is second in the region standings. Miller, who placed in both go-rounds and finished second in western Kansas, also sits in the runner-up position in the Central Plains.
The Rangers men were led by four steer wrestlers that placed among the top 6. J.D. Struxness of Appleton, Minn., won the final round and finished second overall. He was followed by fourth-place finisher Mike McGinn of Haines, Okla.; Riley Westhaver of High River, Alberta, who placed fifth; and Grayson Allred of Kanarraville, Utah, the No. 6 bulldogger; Joby Allen of Alva placed in the first round but was unable to place.
Tie-down roper Bryson Seachrist of Apache, Okla., finished fourth overall, capitalizing on a solid 9.7-second run in the final round, while bareback rider Austin Graham. Seachrist continues to lead the tie-down roping standings, while Graham is third in the region.
Though she’s been close several times, the Garden City rodeo marked the first time this season Lackey has qualified for a final round. She finished one spot out of the short-round field at the first rodeo of the season in Colby, Kan., and has suffered broken-barrier penalties that have forced her to miss other times. So being among the championship field was vital for the sophomore.
“I’ve made a lot of changes in my roping and horsemanship throughout the year,” said Lackey, who just started roping three years ago. “When you make those changes, it’s not always going to come smoothly. Now I’m becoming more comfortable.
“In the end, it’s rodeo, and there are a lot of variables. I drew well and took care of business. Sometimes you just have to have it all come together for you, and it did this time.”