By Darrell Nesbitt, Special to the NHSRA Blog
Meeting a lady by the name of Lindsey Sears was truly a most amazing experience for a young Manitoba cowgirl who also unleashes her talents on a rodeo trail.
Danielle Moran of Russell, Manitoba, is just one of many who looks up to the Canadian All-Star for all the hard work she puts in throughout the year. The Major Pratt sophomore shares Sears’ passion of barrel racing as a member of the Manitoba High School Rodeo Association.
“As a competitor, I look up to her so much,” shared Danielle. “I met the super star in 2011 at the National Finals Rodeo and truly it was the most amazing experience to talk with her.”
Calling Nanton, Alberta, home, Sears is a five-time Canadian Finals Rodeo and six-time NFR qualifier. Her greatest achievement is becoming the Barrel Racing World Champion, the first Canadian to do so, in both 2008 and 2011.
Although Danielle fancies Sears from the limelight of a competitive cowgirl, she pencils in goat tying as being her favorite event versus barrel racing. Like her favorite rodeo competitor, Danielle has always loved the speed of fast horses, and since joining the MHSRA has found the avenue to be the perfect place for it.
Danielle said she enjoys goat tying the best because she excels the most in this event, and in her words, “there’s something about running down to a goat and tying the crazy thing up that really gets your adrenaline going, lol.”
Joining the MHSRA in sixth grade, the daughter of Jamie and Debbie Moran has five competitive years under her belt. However the cowgirl lifestyle and the passion for horses became an intricate part of her life at 18 months of age.
Strong work ethic
Thanks to drive and determination over the years, the Russell teenager found the 2010 Canadian High School Rodeo Finals on Manitoba soil to be a great learning experience.
“I received second in Canada in Junior Girls Goat Tying that year,” Danielle said. “In the 2010-11 year I won the finals champion title, and third overall from a year-end standpoint.”
Thus far, the MHSRA has given Danielle and many more students like her the opportunity to compete at a faster level, to receive scholarships for future schooling, and the opportunity to make great friends.
Living on a bison farm outside of Russell, she carries a strong work ethic taking care of many animals at home and sharing the workload with her dad in terms of the bison upkeep. She also knows the importance of education, and keeps her grades up while also competing on the varsity basketball squad. Although plans for the future aren’t carved in stone as of yet, she is looking to a career in the medical field, as a nurse or physiotherapist.
Knowing full well that adults — not only from a MHSRA standpoint — but also hosting committees, play an intricate roll in the organization of a rodeo, Danielle feels obligated to lend a hand when the chance arises.
“I feel it’s my job as a contestant to also serve as a student event director and provide assistance when needed in whatever capacity,” said Danielle, who is now joined by her sister Tara on the MHSRA trail. “We have the responsibility to help make the tasks that adults who organize the weekend rodeo for us easier, and keep the event running smoothly for our captive audience.”
Support is a blessing
And the lives of a pair of young cowgirls have been enriched thanks to a couple of busy but very supportive parents, as rodeo can be a very expensive sport factoring in the horses, equipment required, feed and entry fees.
“My mom has helped me lots. She’s the one who drives me and my best friend, Jake, a registered 9-year-old Paint Quarter Horse to various rodeos across the province,” said Danielle. “She helps me immensely in the practice arena, and always encourages me to do my best in the competitive arena. Definitely, I couldn’t do it without her.”
Family bonding comes to the forefront when traveling to and from high school rodeos. Traveling great distances is not always a bad thing, as it allows the rural landscapes of Manitoba to be enjoyed, and the closeness of family to be enriched.
And for Danielle, she has found the MHSRA to be one great association, where everyone is very friendly and helpful. She stated that her rodeo friends are for sure her best friends, adding when she’s leaving one rodeo, she’s looking towards the next.
Underlining the importance of respect, rodeo is fun in this Manitoba cowgirl’s eyes, by solely remembering to brush off one’s mistakes, chalk it up to experience and enjoy the moment with a special group of comrades.
Darrell Nesbitt writes from Shoal Lake, Manitoba.