COLUMBIA — Being in the rodeo isn’t just about being a cowgirl or winning competitions. Victoria Meyer says it prepares her for life.
“In rodeo, you never know what you’re going to get thrown at,” Meyer, 18, said. “Whether it’s running in mud, in thunderstorms or hail, or traveling across the country, you learn from all of that, and I think it prepares you for life.”
Meyer lives on a ranch in Moscow Mills where she has been riding horses since she was 2. Her parents ride horses and compete and have helped Meyer learn the ins and outs of rodeo since she was young.
“It’s a stepping process,” Meyer said. “I grew up riding horses my whole life. I started when I was two on a little pony trotting the pattern, and eventually as I got older, I got faster and faster.”
Meyer said she thinks the most valuable lesson rodeo has taught her is staying persistent.
“One thing I’ve learned from rodeo is to never give up,” Meyer said.
Thursday night was no exception.
Meyer competed in the first night of the Missouri High School Rodeo State Finals at the Boone County Fairgrounds. After receiving no times in the breakaway and team roping events, Meyer didn't give up in barrel racing, her last event.
Meyer finished first in 15.627 seconds, giving her 15 points to take into Friday and Saturday's competition for a chance to advance to the national rodeo.
“I’m excited for it. It’s my last finals. I’m a senior this year and I’m sitting good to make national team for breakaway,” Meyer said before Thursday night's events began. “I’m out on a good horse, so if I can get good runs, there’s a chance of making nationals.”
Meyer is riding a borrowed horse because of an accident her horse had last weekend when running barrels. Meyer said her horse cut its leg when it fell head first going around the first barrel and will be out for about a week or two.
Because of her riding experience, Meyer said she feels confident and is thankful for her good fortune so far.
“I’m really comfortable on a horse. It’s a possibility that bad things can happen, but it’s just the risks that we take,” Meyer said. “I’ve been really blessed I haven’t been seriously hurt or anything like that.”
Meyer is set to continue to learn about rodeing and said she is “super excited” about college rodeo. Meyer earned a scholarship with the Missouri Valley College rodeo team, and is ready to start classes this fall in Marshall.