Success for Maryland Rodeo Kids

(first appeared in the November 2014 issue of The Equiery)

By Katherine O. Rizzo with photos by Lisa Cavin
When the Maryland High School Rodeo Association (MDHSRA) got started a year ago, the organizing committee had no idea how popular it would become. What started out as a few high school kids competing in rodeos outside of Maryland has grown to nearly 50 students from Elementary through High School competing both here in Maryland and elsewhere as part of the National High School Rodeo Association circuit.

“It has really been a grass roots effort to get the word out about the club but it has worked!” said current MDHSRA president Katie Nechamkin. “We’ve even had several kids from Maryland who were competing on teams for other states come back to Maryland and join us.”

Members compete in several events, with some choosing to specialize in one event, such as barrel racing. Most have caught the rodeo bug and have branched out to compete in more than one of the 12 events offered. Events vary based on age and gender but typically follow what you would expect at rodeos including barrels, poles, and rough stock events.

The events and points are divided between Junior High and High School and new this year is the addition of the Mustangs for Elementary School members. These kids only compete in barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, goat tying, mutton busting and calf riding.

One of the goals of MDHSRA from the beginning was to be able to host rodeos right here within the state and they accomplished this in 2014. “Several were held at the Howard County Fair Grounds and one was at the Howard County Farm Museum as well as another one at the Charles County Fair,” Nechamkin said. She added that the club is looking into adding locations for the coming season on the Eastern Shore and in Garrett County. “Our goal is to have 14 pointed events across the state leading up to the state finals in May,” she said.

They are also holding several clinics during the winter months including a few for Reined Cow Horse, which is a combination of reining and cutting. “They have to ride a basic reining pattern, then move a cow to a pen and finally move the cow in a figure-eight pattern,” Nechamkin explained.
What was probably the most exciting part about this past season was having members qualify for the national finals. The High School finals were held in Wyoming this past July with the Junior High finals being held in Ohio in June.

Ten members qualified at the High School level with a few qualifying in more than one event. For the Junior High members, there were four who qualified from the free state. All qualified members represented Maryland at the national finals. In addition, Miranda Iager represented the Free State as MDHSRA’s first Rodeo Queen.

For more background on MDHSRA, please visit the Archives and Sporting Blog on

MDHSRA Queen Miranda Iager leading the group of Mustangs at the Howard County Fair Rodeo

Courtney Casper barrel racing

Kelly Edwards with his son Kyle, who participates as a Junior High member

Lauren Keeney qualified for the High School nationals in both Barrel Racing and Pole Bending.

Shiloh Umberger goat tying

Student board member Amber Goff calf roping

Current student president Carli Cavin qualified in Goat Tying for the High School nationals.

Brother and sister team ropers Zachary and Nicole Milbourne

Bull rider BJ Greene

Cassandra Brown running barrels

Marshall Warden bull riding

Mutton Buster Nicholas Jackson

Hunter Rahm competing in Steer Wrestling

Miranda Iager

Board member Gee Gee Lowe


The following Maryland rodeo kids qualified for
this year’s national High School championships:

Julia Prebula: Barrel Racing, Pole Bending, Goat Tying
Morgan Keeney: Barrel Racing, Pole Bending
Lauren Keeney: Barrel Racing, Pole Bending
Amber Goff: Goat Tying, Shooting
Nicole Andraka: Goat Tying
Carli Cavin : Goat Tying
Nicole Milbourne: Barrel Racing, Pole Bending
Austin Weinreich: Tie Down Roping
Olivia Hickman: Pole Bending
Zachary Milbourne: Shooting

The following Maryland rodeo kids qualified for
this year’s national Junior High School championships:

Morgan Meekins: Barrel Racing, Pole Bending, Goat Tying
Faith Hickman: Barrel Racing, Pole Bending
Madison Smith: Barrel Racing, Pole Bending
Kyle Edwards: Shooting