The term “slow and steady wins the race” does not apply to rodeo. Jennifer Massing, a senior, knows this to be true, especially with the high levels of competition in the Central Plains Region for college rodeo.
Each weekend Northwestern’s rodeo team puts it all out on the line in hopes for a championship. The girl’s team achieved these goals during the muddy Stillwater rodeo on Oct. 5-7. Massing placed second in the goats. During her long round run, the odds were against her and she barely slipped into the short round with a 8.2 second run. In the short round Massing knew she had to be fast and blew everyone out of the water with a 7.1 second run to win the short round by a half of a second.
“When it was muddy I really had to focus on my mental preparation more because there are other factors when it is muddy,” Massing said. “So instead of thinking about those other factors I just had to think about how I wanted my runs to look in the mud.”Massing not only goat ties, but also competes in the barrel racing and breakaway roping. Massing has made the short round in the goat tying in all three college rodeos this year, and has made the short round in two of three rodeos in the barrel racing.
“I want to make it back to the short round in all three events,” Massing said. “At the first rodeo I made it a goal of mine to make nine short goes. I really wanted to make it in two of my events, and now [my new barrel/breakaway horse] and I are working a lot better in the breakaway so I think we can make it in three events. I would love to see that happen at Alva’s rodeo.”
Through last year Massing’s most consistent event was goat tying, but now she is placing regularly in barrel racing thanks to a new horse. “I got Playa in July, and it was a meant to be thing,” she said. “She wasn’t for sale and [Playa’s owner] let me ride her because she sitting in a pasture. We just clicked so well, so [Playa’s owner] made me a deal on her. It was meant to be and we’ve been getting along good and getting to know one another. She is one in a million.”
Massing plans to continue growing with Playa after college and into the professional rodeo ranks. Although Playa and Massing are growing into a strong team, Massing already is consistent with her goat horse, Cooper. “I’ve had Cooper for five or six years,” she said. “He is the biggest horse I’ve ever been on. It took me a long time to get used to him and getting off such a big horse in the goat tying. Everyone wondered why I get off such a big horse, but he is always faithful. I don’t think once he has ever cheated me, he is just so reliable. I can always count on him; he is such a gentle giant.”
Massing and Cooper are a consistent team much like the Rangers. Not only did the women’s team place first, but the men placed second. In the steer wrestling the Rangers had three men come back to the short round. Talon Roseland and Cody Devers placed first and second in the average.
The men fell short on their other events, only having one teammate make the short round in each event. In the team roping Grayson Allred placed second in the average. In the tie down Maverick Harper placed second in the long round, but didn’t do as well in the short round and placed forth in the average.
For the women, the Rangers best event was the breakaway. Ashlyn Moeder placed second in the average. Taylor Munsell and Alyssa Gabrielson also made the short round in the breakaway. Barrel racing just had one Ranger in the short round, Ellie Franks. Massing was also the only Ranger in the short round for goat tying. Although fewer made it back to the short round, the Rangers made their runs count.
“I think when we lost Katy Miller to her knee injury, it made all of the girls realize we need to work that much harder to try and fill Katy’s spot on the team,” Massing said. “We are working really hard to bring ourselves up. We are doing okay, and we will just get better.”