The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Brendan Relaford
For The Sentinel 

Akins excels at American Rodeo in Fort Worth


March 20, 2019


WELL DONE: Kayde Jo Akins (left) rode quarter horse Dude on loan from Shelly Treat to a 33rd finish in breakaway roping at The American rodeo competition in Fort Worth, Texas.

Goldendale elementary school teacher Kayde Jo Akins rode to 33rd place out of 500 competitors in breakaway roping at the American Rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas, between Feb. 2 and March 3. Akins worked her way to Fort Worth by competing in Pacific Northwest qualifying events and entered the American Rodeo as the 31st seed.

After Akins qualified in the Northwest, her breakaway horse wasn't up for the 1,900-mile journey to Fort Worth due to stress and age, so she reached out to her longtime friend Shelly Treat, who helped her out by loaning Akins her 19-year-old quarter horse, Dude, who came out of a five-year retirement from an injury to compete in the event. Akins and Treat have a long history in rodeo together, going back 25 years to when they were in elementary school. In 2003 they were co-champions of the Washington State Rodeo.

Breakaway roping is a rodeo event featuring a calf and one mounted rider. It is a variation of calf roping in which a calf is roped, but not thrown and tied. The calves are moved one at a time through a narrow run leading to a chute with spring-loaded doors. The horse and rider wait in a box next to the chute, which has a spring-loaded rope known as the barrier stretching from the chute to the calf's neck to ensure that the calf gets a head start. Once the barrier is released and the calf is well away from the chute, the horse runs out of the box while the roper attempts to throw a lasso around the calf's head. Ropers must use one of three kinds of catches. They can rope the calf with a clean catch around both horns, a catch around the neck or a catch around the neck and one horn. If a loop crosses itself in a head catch, it is considered illegal, and seconds are added to the rider's time. Once the rope is around the calf's head, the roper signals the horse to stop suddenly. The rope is tied to the saddle horn with a string. When the calf hits the end of the rope, the rope is pulled tight, and the string breaks. The breaking of the string marks the end of the run. The rope usually has a small white flag at the end, making it easier for the timer to see the exact time the rope breaks. The fastest run wins.

Akins came out hot in three excellent runs of 3.33, 2.77 and 2.63 seconds, but due to an unfortunate illegal head catch, her 3.33 second run was disqualified, and she ended up with a final time of 5.4 seconds, placing her 33rd for the event. The winner, Madison Outhier, finished with an aggregate time of 4.05 seconds and moved on to Dallas for the finals.


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