Kendal Pierson finishes out her Grade 11 season as the National High School Rodeo Association World Champion breakaway roper.
Pierson lives in Wardlow, and has been homeschooled since grade ten with the Center for Learning at Home. Growing up on her family’s ranch, she’s always had a strong interest in roping.
“I started at five, going to these little ground clinics put on by Joe Lucas. And I've always been roping, like I've roped in the branding pen, roping steers. I started competing in the breakaway when I was in probably when I was about 11 years old,” said Pierson. “My dad and my sister were in rodeo, my sister still is. I always packed a rope in my hand no matter what. I just kind of loved it.”
Pierson’s been competing since about grade six, participating in several events such as barrel racing, goat roping, and the breakaway roping she’s been award for this year.
“My first round this year I was 2.6 seconds in the breakaway, I had just had a calf that made me really ride my horse for 2.6 seconds. The second round I was 2.31. And I got a good start and a sharp loop and ended up in 2.3 seconds,” said Pierson. “What happens is though, there were 180 ish girls in the first two rounds, and so everyone gets thrown two head. Out of that it's the top 20 on the fastest 20 girls on both of their heads, like both their calves. On two head I was I don't even know what that is up to, I think it was 4.91 on two runs of mine, so what they do is take the top 20 and I was third going in. I got through a third last, because I was the third fastest time on two cattle. And then my last run, it’s a three head average. So I didn't know what I had to beat and I just went out and made the best run on my calf that I could, and I ended up being 2.13 seconds.”
“I'm grateful obviously, to be able to have this title to my name. It's really cool. Because there've been so many people before us breakaway ropers, so many girls like Jackie Crawford, that and all that group of women who have worked towards to be where breakaway is now,” said Pierson.” “It's cool to be able to have my name up on with many great names in that pro rodeo.”
In addition to rodeo, Pierson has played AAA hockey up in Calgary and trains horses when she isn’t practicing her rodeo skills. She hopes to attend college in Texas on a rodeo scholarship and make her way into the National Finals Rodeo once she’s finished with high school.
Anna Smith, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prairie Post East