By Christopher Tenpenny
Harrisonville High School junior Josie Moore has been competing in rodeos since she was 5. It was passed down by her older siblings and something she fell in love with at a young age.
That love has remained strong through many years of competing.
“My parents always told me if you’re not having fun then why are you competing,” Moore said. “I just always have fun. It’s my pep talk to myself.”
Moore competed at the High School National Rodeo in Nebraska July 21. Moore qualified in the pole bending event by taking first place at the Missouri State Rodeo. The National High School Rodeo is the largest rodeo in the world with more than 1,800 participants from the U.S., Canada and Mexico. New Zealand and Australia have also competed prior to the last two years due to COVID-19. Moore competed against 183 other pole bending contestants. This is the second consecutive year Moore has qualified for the National Rodeo. Competing at Nationals has a different feel to it than rodeos in the state.
“Most of the time it’s just the families of the people you compete with,” Moore said. “With Nationals, the entire arena is packed. You couldn’t find an empty seat. It can be a little intimidating seeing all the people, but once I start competing, I honestly don’t hear anything.”
Moore gives a lot of credit for her success to her big sister, Mattie. Mattie Moore is 10 years older than Josie and also competed in rodeos in high school and college. When she returned from competing in college, she helped her younger sister in a big way.
“We call her my rodeo mom,” Josie said. “She takes me to all of the rodeos and she lets me use her horse. She’s helped me grow as a better rider and be a better person. She’s my best friend.”
The two spend hours training and that includes the horse.
“My mare is just as much of an athlete as I am,” Moore said. “We run patterns and do drills everyday to stay in shape just like you would do for any other sport.”
Moore is no stranger to hard work as she works on her family-owned farm with more than 1,000 head of cattle. She has put a lot of time and effort into training her horses.
“I’ve raised them, trained them and broke them in,” Josie said.
Josie enjoys more than just competing in events. She loves the leadership opportunities that the National High School Rodeo Association provides and the family feel with everyone involved.
“We are one big community,” she said. “We compete against one another, but sometimes your competitor is using something of yours. Then once we are done competing, we sit down and eat together like a big family.”
When Josie is not on the farm working or training, you can find her everywhere in the community whether it’s working at Sonic or cheering on the Wildcats as a varsity cheerleader, she stays involved.
Moore is still unsure about what she wants to do after high school, but she would like to continue to compete in rodeo while pursuing a degree in either agricultural business or communications.
She just has to remember to keep having fun.