Cougar Cowgirl: Shooting for the moon, landing on stars

Josie Goodrich takes on feisty calves in Montana, Oregon; she will compete in Cheyenne Frontier Days next week



Josie Goodrich and Ruby prepare for the Lake Chelan Rodeo, the Snake River Stampede and Cheyenne Frontier Days.

JOSIE GOODRICH, Reporter/Copy Editor

After a good weekend of rodeoin’ I am preparing for an even bigger week ahead of me – hopefully, filled with some bigger paychecks, too.

Due to a good win in Big Fork, Mont., and Cheney, I climbed from 11th in the Columbia River Circuit breakaway standings all the way up to second.

I debated publicly sharing this, almost because I feel embarrassed for the people who I know and rodeo with to read this, but I figured if I want something bad enough, I better speak it into existence.

As I previously mentioned in my first article, my goal for the summer was to make the circuit finals in the top 12 in the breakaway. Well, now my goal is to win the circuit this year. That means by the end of the year, I want to be the girl who has won the most amount of money and is number one in the Columbia River Circuit.

As a rookie, that would be a stellar accomplishment and help me with the future goals I have for myself, as well as boost my confidence. Even if that is a little too far-fetched, I figure that it is always best to shoot for the moon and land on the stars.

The year is a long way from over, and the good, high-paying rodeos have yet to begin, but I am confident I can rope my way to the top.

While I was in Big Fork, I had a pretty slow calf in the breakaway. You would think that makes my life a little easier, but is actually quite the opposite. My horse, Ruby, is a fast lil’ thing, and she will run right over the top of those calves if I let her.

Not only do I have to slow my horse down with a slower calf, but I have to let the calf get further out of the chute before I can go so that I do not break the barrier. I have not talked about what that means yet in hopes that I can avoid ever saying that I broke the barrier, but breaking the barrier adds 10 seconds to your time.

There is a rope tied around the calf’s neck while it is loaded in the chute, and then there is a rope in front of me while I am in the box. The calf has to break his rope before I can break mine, that way the calf has a head start and the times are fair.

If I break the rope before the calf breaks his, then I have broken the barrier and have a 10-second penalty. To avoid breaking the barrier, I have to see a certain amount of the calf out the end of the chute before I can start going.

Typically, this would be seeing the calf’s ear to the end of the chute or maybe just a good step, which would be considered when the calf takes a slight move forward. However, in Big Fork, I had to see the calf’s rib out the end of the chute before I could go, which made the run a lot tougher.

I ended up splitting fourth place with three other girls who were also 3.0, and I still pulled a pretty decent check. My dad won fourth overall against some top-notch young guys, and my mom got a barrel check against some really tough barrel horses.

Big Fork was a big win for the Goodrichs.

Once I got back home, I went down to Elgin, Ore., and had quite a long night. Keeper was running like Sonic the Hedgehog and blew right by the first barrel. I am glad the old guy feels good, but maybe we can reel it back in next time.

In the breakaway at Elgin, the calf absolutely made a fool of me.

The calf did not want to load in the chute, to the point where three men had to drag him into the chute. I am sitting in the box thinking to myself, “OK, this calf does not want to be here, and he is going to trot out of here, giving me the perfect shot.”

Boy, was I wrong. As soon as I nodded my head, the calf bolted to the back end of the arena, leaving me in his dust. Safe to say, I did not catch my calf that night.

Then, our truck died and we had to get it jump-started by a rough stock rider who lives out of his furnished van. This van somehow had a shower, a bed, a recliner and all the necessities needed for the rodeo life, which was quite impressive.

However, I redeemed myself in Cheney and split second in the breakaway with a 2.5-second run. I split second place with three other girls, which made the paycheck significantly smaller, but I will gladly take it any day of the week.

My weekend starts on Friday in Chelan, then on Monday, I will be roping in Nampa, Idaho. On Tuesday morning, I will be roping at the “Daddy of em’ All” – the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyo.

It is one of the biggest rodeos of the year, and I am so stoked that I got in. The rodeo was limited to 200 contestants, and all of the biggest names in rodeo will be there. I entered last year and did not get in, so this year is my time to shine.

If I can come back next week to tell you all that I did well at the “Daddy of em’ All,” you can bet your britches I will be hitting the slot machines and celebrating hard.