Kamryn Duncan came home from the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Des Moines, Iowa, with a new hat, belt buckle, saddle and boots.
The rodeo gear came with a national title in a sport she loves.
The 14-year-old Live Oak High School freshman made her final trip to the national rodeo, held June 21-27, count “in a big way,” said her mother, Rachelle Duncan, of Watson.
Kamryn, who competes in team roping, girls breakaway and goat-tying, was the 2014 reserve national champion in goat-tying and had set a goal to win the goat-tying title this season.
“She was the state champion in goat-tying, and she won the national title, too,” Rachelle Duncan said. “She was determined and focused this year.”
She also finished in seventh place in the All-Around Cowgirl contest, which featured some of the best riders and ropers in the country. The Louisiana team finished the event in fourth place.
Her roping and riding times and wins in rodeos throughout the season qualified Kamryn to compete in three events at the national rodeo. In the team roping event, Kamryn partnered with Garrett Frey, of Morganza.
The trophies and awards she won at the Iowa rodeo sit in her house alongside a trove of mementoes representing a long and successful rodeo career that started at 4 because of her love of horses.
She was surrounded by horses that grazed on her parents’ property in Watson.
“She comes from a long line of horse lovers,” Rachelle Duncan said, adding that several of Kamryn’s family members were involved in rodeo and horse racing.
She’s been competing on the junior high school circuit as a member of the Southeast Louisiana High School Rodeo Association and at Louisiana High School Rodeo Association events since she was eligible in the sixth grade and qualified for the national rodeo all three years of eligibility.
Kamryn was the 2013 Louisiana Junior High Rodeo Rookie of the Year.
She is the Louisiana Cinch team captain. Cinch is a sponsor of rodeos and a big advocate for youth rodeo ropers and riders, Rachelle Duncan said.
Making the trip and a big part of Kamryn’s national win was her horse Freckles, a 9-year-old mare.
At this year’s nationals, Kamryn and Freckles recorded a time of 7.47 seconds in the short round of the goat-tying event. That time proved to be the fastest of all 13 performances at the National Finals and won Kamryn the Gist Medallion.
Also making the trip with Kamryn were her parents, Trampas and Rachelle Duncan; grandmother, Charlene Smith; and nanny, Dianne Walkowiak. That family support is an important part of rodeo, Rachelle Duncan said.
Kamryn credits hard work, dedication and her faith with bringing her to the top of her sport.
She practiced at least once a week with coaches Carissa Pearson, who helped Kamryn with goat-tying techniques, and Troy Aucsoin, who served as her roping coach.
She said her next goal is to have a good first year on the High School Rodeo circuit and qualify for the High School Finals in Gillette, Wyoming, next summer.