Monday, January 09, 2017 - Updated: 3:31 PM
Lyon County’s Tristen Waters isn’t stopping to celebrate a successful first year of rodeo competition. The eighth grader is getting ready for a return to action in March.
Waters competes with her horse Moonshine, a duo two years in the making. Mother Misty Waters said the Missouri horse came to the family after being purchased from Hopkinsville.
Waters received recognition as the Kentucky High School Rodeo Association’s Western Region Rookie of the Year. Kentucky has two regions. She was highest in points in the class, competing in four different events.
She also received buckles noting strong performances in goat tying, ribbon roping, and competing in the Western Region and state.
But it’s the rookie buckle Waters say she wears the most.
“I was really proud of that one,” Waters said. “I didn’t know I was going to get it. [It’s special because] only one person gets it each year.”
She practices every day, from building her relationship with Moonshine to tying a fake goat to shave off seconds. From lessons weekly at Broken W in Princeton to time at home, she spends about four hours each week improving her skills, in addition to time with her partner, Moonshine.
This season she also competed with another partner, Jake Scheidler of Caldwell County. The two placed high in national ribbon roping competition.
“My partner and I, he would rope and I would run up to the cow and get the ribbon off of it,” Waters said. “That was fun because we were competing against all kinds of different people.”
The duo were reserve champions for both western Kentucky and the state. At nationals, they placed in the top two thirds out of 150 teams. They didn’t earn a score in the first day of competition, but placed seventh on the second. Waters said conditions were less than ideal, having to tape the tops of her boots to keep the on in the muddy arena.
“It was terrible,” Water said. “[They had to be taped] so they wouldn’t come off. Then your socks would get stuck.”
Waters competes in a variety of events, but said pole bending is her favorite.
“It’s longer and you kind move with the horse. It’s fun,” Waters said. “I also do barrels, poles, goat tying.”
The season runs October through November, then picks up again March through June.
While Waters waits to return to the same level of competition, she plans to take part in National Little Britches Rodeo Association events in Sturgis this month. According to NLBRA, events are planned Jan. 14 and Feb. 11 at the Union County Fair Grounds.
In the meantime, she keeps practicing through the off-season whenever she can.