Having The Heart To Win

The International Finals Youth Rodeo is home to fierce competitors from all over the United States who eat, sleep, and breath rodeo. Every rider is tough and ready to win. One girl in particular came to win, and broke an arena record while doing it.

McKenzie Wansing broke the arena record in Shawnee, Oklahoma with a 1.8 second run in the breakaway roping. The small town of Garden City, Missouri is where she calls home. Wansing is no stranger to the rodeo pen. She has been in the saddle since she was six years old and won her first buckle at age ten. Barrel racing was her main event until she switched to calf roping in 2010.

“I had a really, really nice barrel horse (Wings) that unfortunately died in 2010, so I switched over to roping calves,” Wansing said. “We bought a little calf horse from a kid in Kansas and we have had her the past six years. She is a little ten-year-old grey mare and her name is Six. She had just been started on calves when we brought her home.”

Six has had a rocky past few years. Wansing explains that Six developed Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) about two years ago and couldn’t be ridden. The family got her treated and she has been a rock star ever since. Wansing has won $14,000 on the mare and is currently headed to Nationals in Wyoming to compete in the team roping, calf roping and goat tying.

All horses have their fun little quirks. Six is no different. The mare is full of personality and Wansing said she loves it

“She can read a barrier better than every person I have ever met. It’s ridiculous. She loves chocolate chip cookies and carrying random buckets around in her mouth. She has a lot of personality that’s for sure. She is a dead head and actually quieter inside the arena than outside.”