Aug. 4, 2010
SHSU Media Contact: Tara Lestarjette
Senior business major Kaki Herring competes on the SHSU rodeo team in three events—barrel racing, breakaway roping, and goat tying—which led her to win the All-Around category for the college rodeo's Southern Region this year. —All photos by RM Photos
Kaki Herring is one of the many students on the Sam Houston State University rodeo team that conquers her homework while roping in her dreams.
Though devoted to her studies, the senior general business major also makes time to carry out her passion to train for SHSU and local rodeo events. As a result of her dedication, Herring recently won the first round of breakaway roping at the College National Finals Rodeo in Wyoming after being named All-Around Champion, placing sixth in Breakaway roping and second in goat tying for the Southern Region.
“School is my main priority but rodeo comes right behind it,” said Herring. “Being a business major is tough, but school comes first. It is difficult to keep up with all of my responsibilities in school and on the team. You have to make the grades to be in the rodeo.”
“Rodeo athletes must be self motivated,” said SHSU rodeo coach Bubba Miller. “Most students’ training starts with the preparation of taking care of their horses. One of the first things they do is get up and feed, hay and water horses. Then in the afternoon they practice for two to three hours. They still have to clean stalls, feed, hay and water so they can go study for their next exam.”
Though roughly 50 students at Sam Houston are involved in rodeo activities, only 10 students make up the rodeo team. Six male and four female students are chosen based on skills displayed during competitions and the amount of points they earn. The rodeo members are subject to change at any time due to their current progress, participating at college rodeos individually.
“I think it’s a huge honor to be a part of the Sam Houston State Rodeo Team,” said Herring. “It has been very successful throughout the years in and out of the arena.”
“Rodeo athletes have an overwhelming drive to succeed,” said Miller. “This drive is the key factor that creates the champions. Their investment of time, money, hard work and accomplishments makes these students successful in whatever they put their mind to.”
Like Herring, many of the students on the rodeo team have majors other than agriculture.
“We have teachers, musicians, biologists, engineers and many other walks of life that find their common ground when they enter the arena,” said Miller. “Most of these students have competed in rodeo most of their life. Rodeo is more than a sport to them; it is their way of life. Many times these students have roots that reach far beyond agriculture.”
According to Herring, being involved in the rodeo provides exposure to students from different backgrounds.
“Coming to college, you are on your own,” said Herring. “You need a group to get connected with other students. When I arrived at Sam, I didn’t know many people at first, but am now a part of a close group of people on the rodeo team. I have grown to not only be an individual competing at the rodeo, but a part of a winning team.”
For Herring, being involved in rodeo is a family tradition.
“My parents were a part of the SHSU rodeo team, as well as my brother Jabe,” said Herring. “The rodeo is a huge part of our lives. I have been around animals since I could walk and have been preparing my whole life for where I am today.”
Among many accomplishments, Herring won the Region 7 Goat Tying Championship twice in high school. She also qualified three years for the Cowboy Professional Rodeo Association in the barrel racing and was also successful in last year’s CNFR, taking home first place in goat tying and reserve all around.
“I practice every chance I get,” said Herring. “I take care of my horses and make sure they are in good health. I practice at least three hours a day, if I get my homework done and fix anything that needs to be fixed. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth every moment.”
Reflecting on her CNFR experience, Herring says, “This year I received a ring that I will wear and have the rest of my life. It was a great feeling, probably one of my best accomplishments. It is an amazing experience for anyone and I am blessed I got to go. My parents support me completely and I could not ask for anything more. I get to spend time with great friends and experience the fun and entertainment.”
“Kaki has been the power of the SHSU women's rodeo team,” said Miller. “Her success is second to none. She has the drive to practice, the will to succeed and the heart to win. She and many other students have made the SHSU rodeo a team our community can be proud of.”
“As they say ‘practice makes perfect,’” said Herring. “If you practice you will be ready for anything.”
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