By Jolee Jordan
Sikeston, Missouri — The Sikeston Jaycees Bootheel Rodeo has been on Jordan Moore’s radar since long before the cowgirl joined the WPRA three years ago.
Moore grew up in Wisconsin, learning to ride as a child by visiting a local trail riding ranch. The owner was a barrel racer who had competed in college rodeo and Moore soon caught the barrel racing bug.
When she got older, Moore hauled with fellow Wisconsin barrel racer Sandi Brandli, the WPRA’s director in the Great Lakes Circuit for many years and a champion of the geographically huge circuit. It was from Brandli that Moore first learned about the huge rodeo in southern Missouri.
“I remember hearing about Sikeston since I was younger and it’s one of those milestone rodeos here in our circuit,” she says. “I always wanted to go [compete there].”
Located just north of Missouri’s bootheel, Sikeston has been hosting a rodeo for 64 years as part of the Jaycees community service efforts. The only stop on the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour in the Great Lakes Circuit, Sikeston’s rodeo adds $12,250 and often attracts the top talent from across the country as well as the circuit.
Moore checked Sikeston off her bucket list for the first time in 2015. As a rookie, Moore nearly took home the Great Lakes Circuit title, finishing just behind two-time Great Lakes Champ Natalie Foutch. But the trip to Sikeston left the cowgirl looking for improvement.
“We had an amazing season last year but we hit a bit of a low around the time of Sikeston,” says Moore, who is sponsored by MVP Supplements and Rudig Jensen Auto Mall. “For this year, I was just hoping to be a bit more solid.”
Her partner in her journey is CCR Ring of Fire, aka Ringo. Moore bought the gelded son of VF Moon Fire early in his four year old season from her mentor Brandli and Moore notes that Brandli helped her train the horse for the pattern.
“I hauled and seasoned him,” she says of the now 13-year old. “He’s pretty quirky; he was definitely a challenge to train. I have to give him lots of special care at the rodeos, just to keep him real sane.”
Ringo has been on a trail of fire in 2016, landing Moore atop the circuit standings even before her second trip to Sikeston.
Running in the second performance on Thursday, August 11, Moore was feeling some pressure.
“I was pretty nervous . . . for one, I had to haul by myself and I usually have my mom or my boyfriend with me,” notes Moore of the nearly 600 mile trip from Mauston, Wis. “I was pretty nervous after Tracy Nowlin ran.”
In fact, Nowlin had posted the best time of the rodeo at that point with her 16.26 second run.
But Ringo seemed to be ready to rise to the moment.
“He was really strong in the alley and normally he is patient,” Moore says. “He took off really hard and set hard into the first turn. I didn’t think we were going to get by it.”
When Moore left the first barrel standing, she thought she may be in good shape.
“It was one of the most memorable, smoothest runs I’ve made,” she gushed. “He just ran so hard.”
Leaving Sikeston with the lead at 16.23 seconds, Moore knew there was plenty of rodeo left and lots of tough horses yet to run.
“I had no idea he would hold up through the rest of those really tough horses,” she notes. “It’s so rewarding.”
With a diamond-shaped arena, the pattern in Sikeston is offset in the arena, a situation that Moore thinks suits Ringo.
“He does well in those weird set-ups,” she laughs. “He can really hook the first barrel, so he handles those pens really well.”
As it happened, not one barrel racer was able to catch either Moore or Nowlin. The win was worth $3,902 and a ton of memories.
“Since I was by myself, I didn’t get a video!” she laments. “I just had no prior thought that I would win a rodeo that big.”
“It’s such a blessing.”
Moore’s circuit total is now over $17,000, nearly doubled of her closest competitor in the circuit, giving the cowgirl a great chance to earn a trip to the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.
“I would love to go to Kissimmee,” she laughs.
In the meantime, Moore is beginning her sophomore year of classes at the University of Wisconsin- Baraboo/Sauk County where she is studying psychology, a field that she says has helped her with her mental game inside the rodeo arena.
“I’ll be taking most of my classes online this fall,” Moore says, eyeing not only the Great Lakes Circuit Finals in November in Louisville but also the All American Pro Rodeo Series in Waco, Texas for a busy fall of rodeo.
Moore got interested in psychology due to inspirational teachers in both high school and college and a desire to follow her mother into the healthcare field.
“It would be impossible for me to do what I do,” says Moore of her mother, Dr. Moiya Murphy and boyfriend Brent Miller. Miller is a PRCA team roping heeler who is also working on a berth to Louisville. “They are a big part of my support team.”
For more information on the Sikeston Jaycees Bootheel Rodeo, please visit them on-line at sikestonrodeo.com.
Courtesy of WPRA