Lone star

Jessi Mosher is Craig's junior-division rodeo pioneer

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This winter, Jessi Mosher and a couple of her friends attended interest meetings about a middle school rodeo team. At the time, she and a couple of friends were excited about signing up for the team.

Then the interest meetings turned into the real thing, and when it was time to load up and hit the road in the spring, Mosher was the only one from Craig to make the trip.

"Either their parents wouldn't let them or they had another sport," Mosher said about her other friends who were initially interested. "I was proud to represent Craig at the rodeos."

Mosher also represents the inaugural class of the "first truly international junior high rodeo association in the world," according to the National High School Rodeo Association.

The Colorado State High School Rodeo Association added competitions for the Wrangler Junior High Division to three of its spring rodeos. Mosher competed in the rodeos at Loveland and Montrose.

"It was awesome," Mosher said.

Unlike most of the current high school team members, Mosher had no rodeo experience going into the season. Her summers are spent with her dad in Greeley, and she never had a chance to rodeo.

This year, she received lessons from former National High School Rodeo qualifier Kelly White. She also set up her own pole bending course at her mom's ranch.

"It's a lot harder than it looks," she said. "I thought I could just get up on a horse, swing the rope and lasso something."

White's mom, Robin, is the president of the CSHSRA and Mosher's mom, Heather Martin, gave White and MCHS coach Casey Fawcett credit for starting the program.

"Those two did a tremendous amount of work to get it started," Martin said. "We're lucky to have those two helping out."

For Mosher, the junior division offered the chance to literally learn the ropes before joining the high school team.

Mosher grew up around rodeos, but other sports and activities had kept her from learning to compete.

The junior division's events for girls are barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway calf roping, team roping and ribbon roping.

Mosher said her favorite event was goat tying and that the hardest part was remembering everything at once.

She was competing mostly against children who grew up with a rope.

A goal she set for next year is to make sure she does all the events right.

"I'm not worrying about scoring and placing yet," she said. "I want to get to know my horse better and become more confident."

Martin said she thought she was more nervous for her daughter than she was.

"It was a big step for her," Martin said.

Mosher received the Most Improved award at the Montrose rodeo.

She's already had a friend tell her she was "so doing (the rodeo) next year."

"It was cool to be the only one that was announced from Craig," Mosher said. "But it was lonely sometimes."

Next season, Mosher hopes she isn't the lone star for the CMS rodeo team.

"They all say they want to do it now," she said.

Now all they need to do is show up.

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