Where’s Ward? On the Road with Loralee (6)


Loralee Ward, Staff Writer

Happy New Year! I welcome 2023 and the chaos. The break passed so quickly with little time to celebrate Christmas festivities. I spent Christmas day with my family, and I rang in the New Year by myself.

Due to the extreme temperatures, the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo qualifier moved from a two-day event to one. Livestock and subzero temperatures never function well together. I qualified for the performances in the first round. I tied for ninth/tenth place with about 120 entries. This was my first WPRA (Women’s Professional Rodeo Association) event. Each contestant holds either a permit or professional card to compete. To purchase a permit, one must be at eighteen-years-old. After winning a thousand dollars on your permit at WPRA events, the association gives you the option to purchase a permit extension or professional card.

I made the choice to purchase my professional card, meaning this starts my “rookie year.” Although the rookie of the year carries much prestige, it is not my primary focus. I am taking professional rodeo on a monthly basis. I except a lot of growing pains, but I know the competition will help me improve. When you have dreamed of professional rodeoing for nearly a decade, it feels surreal to actually be living it. At the Denver rodeo qualifier, someone stopped me and made the comment that she could not believe I was old enough to be there. I replied in agreeance saying that I do not feel like old enough to play with the big dogs.

I drew up January 12th at 7 p.m. and the 13th at 1:30 p.m in Denver. Before this, I will go to Texas to run in Midland, Odessa, and Uvalde. I then go to Queen Creek, Arizona, the following week. My dad and I will be burning the pavement all of January, and I look forward to putting my Stanley coffee thermos to good use.

Here’s me and my sidekick Reata celebrating the New Year by riding/taking care of horses while the family skis.