Farwell cowgirl among nation’s best barrel racers

Eric Butler: Freedom New Mexico

CLOVIS – Of the dozens of competitors on the first night of the annual
Pioneer Days Rodeo, one resident of Farwell was sure sitting pretty
after taking a risk over a year ago. Cassie Moseley, 27, finished the
2008 season at fourth place year-end standings in barrel racing.

Entering the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Event (PRCA) rodeo in Clovis
on Thursday, she was ranked fifth in the nationwide rankings. Last
year, Moseley hauled in $156,297 in earnings and that itself was
justification for taking her husband David’s advice to do rodeo full
time.

David Moseley is a Farwell native, but Cassie took a job as a radiation therapist in Clovis after moving to his home area.

“My contract was ending and they were wanting me to go full-time at
the hospital,” Cassie Moseley said. “I had kind of done some rodeos my
rookie year (2007) and we just decided that maybe it was time to take
the gamble.

“When the (’08) season started, I just decided to go for it,” she
added. “It was thanks to my husband. He’s more of a gambler and I’m
not. He said he would just shoe more horses if I didn’t win enough.”

Moseley rode in the slack late Thursday night at the Curry County
Special Events Center, so most of the spectators didn’t get to see her
in action. The slack event consists of the extra cowboys and cowgirls
who couldn’t be fit into the regular performances — and it starts after
the evening’s traditional last event of bull riding.

Last year, Moseley tied with two others for first in the barrel
racing held at Clovis. Going again at the Pioneer Days Rodeo, one of
several PRCA events held on the same weekend, was a no-brainer for her.

“I try to go to the ones that are closer and not do a lot of driving,” Moseley said.

Likewise, that was true for Texico bullrider L.J. Jenkins. Although
only 22, Jenkins has built a notable reputation on the Professional
Bullriders (PBR) circuit. In 2006, Jenkins ended the season by winning
the Built Ford Tough Finals.

“If there’s money to be won, I like to be there — especially when
it’s five miles from my house,” said Jenkins, who was in the bullriding
competition Thursday night at the Pioneer Days Rodeo.

Many of Thursday’s entrants were nowhere near their hometowns, unlike Moseley or Jenkins.

Kaycee Field of Elk Ridge, Utah, in the saddle-bronc competition was
taken to the ground by his horse. His ride, however, wasn’t over as the
horse got back up and started bucking again with Field still in the
saddle.

Field didn’t get a score for the effort and was offered the option for a reride. It was an option he couldn’t take.

“They gave me another horse to ride, but I’m not going to be able to
do it. I’ve got to go to California to another rodeo,” Field, 22, said.
“They just gave me my money back. It happens sometimes.”