Kansas-Kyra Stierwalt may be a rookie in the ranks of
professional rodeo but the young cowgirl has already
been on the trail to many of the top stock shows across
the nation from the American Royal in Kansas City to
the National Western in Denver. However, Stierwalt competed
at these big events not in the rodeo arena but as a
top hand with show steers.
"I have shown steers since
I was nine and I have just two more shows that I am
eligible to compete in," says Stierwalt, whose
family runs Stierwalt Cattle and Clinics, raising champion
steers and traveling across the country to teach others
the tricks of the trade.
"I have been riding and running
barrels since I was about three." Her mother did
local play days for fun but her family was more interested
in the show ring than the rodeo arena; only cousin Tara
Timms, the 2008 WPRA World Champion Junior Barrel Racer,
shares Stierwalt's love for the sport. The two occasionally
travel together now that both have joined the ranks
of the WPRA.
"I got my permit when I turned
18 last summer and filled it. I bought a second one,
so that I could finish out the year and I bought my
card in October to give me a whole year as a rookie,"
says the Leedey, Oklahoma cowgirl who just recently
graduated high school. "My dad said I could rodeo
for a year but if I don't win enough, then I will go
ahead and go to cosmetology school."
So far, the rodeo trail is still
the plan. Stierwalt tackled a busy two weekend stretch
for Prairie Circuit competitors beginning Memorial Weekend,
finding success along the way.
"We went to Fort Smith for
the futurity and derby so we hit the rodeos around there,"
says Stierwalt, clicking off the list of rodeos: Claremore,
Poteau, Hugo, Ada, Strong City, Fort Smith and Bennington.
Stierwalt has a pair of nice mares to take on the busy
road schedule, a six year old named Famous Nadine and
an eight year old, Streakin' Reba, who helped Stierwalt
fill her permit last year.
"I just got Nadine in December
after the BFA Finals in Oklahoma City," says Stierwalt.
The daughter of PESI-nominated and industry leading
sire Dash ta Fame has already found success under the
saddle of Kebo Almond and Wrangler National Finals Rodeo
qualifier PJ Burger. "PJ helped me out before my
run at Fort Worth and I can text her with questions;
she is awesome to help."
"Brad Lieblong from Jonesboro,
Arkansas owned the mare and his family has been great
to help me out as well," she adds. "I am starting
to get with her and figure her out."
The evidence was apparent at Claremore,
Okla., during Memorial Day when only world number two
Carlee Pierce outran Stierwalt and Nadine; the second
place check worth $1,515 put Stierwalt well into the
standings for the Prairie Circuit. It was cemented during
the 37th Annual Bennington PRCA Rodeo presented by the
local Lions Club.
"It was really cold,"
laughs Stierwalt. She competed in the slack following
the opening performance on May 31. "Nadine is a
left handed horse and I thought the pattern looked like
it was a little better to the left than usual. You have
to push this mare, ride until you think you can't go
"I just thought, 'kick as long
as you can and then hold on!'"
The plan worked perfectly as the
pair posted a 16.27 second run that could not be bested
by Pierce, 2011 RNCFR Champion Tana Renick, or any of
a slew of past Wrangler NFR qualifiers who were entered.
Renick came closest; she settled for second with her
run of 16.29.
"It was my first time to take
first," Stierwalt says of the $1,314 payday. The
cowgirl is hoping to make her circuit finals and possibly
make a run for the rookie race. She is currently third
in the Prairie Circuit and 12th in the overall rookie
"If it all works out, that
would be awesome," she says. She is planning a
summer run to include rodeos in Colorado, South Dakota
and Montana. "We're going to where it will be cool."
Stierwalt says her family has been
critical to her success thus far. "There is no
way I would be able to do this without my parents. My
mom does all my entering and drives me and my dad works
really hard so I can do what I do.
"I really appreciate them so
For more information on the
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