Being raised on a cow/calf operation in Hobbs, New Mexico brought on a love of agriculture and equine for Kynzie McNeill at a young age. The fifth-generation rancher loves the thrill of competing in rodeo events across the nation.
“I’ve always been around horses,” McNeill said. “As far as rodeo is concerned, none of my family ever did it. They roped a little bit, but never full on rodeo. My sister and I were the first to actually start that up. We started at a pretty young age at local events and just went up from there.I’m a very competitive person. Rodeo is perfect because it adds my horse life to my competitive drive. I enjoy it a lot.”
McNeill graduated this past May from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. She rode for the Texas Tech Rodeo Team all four years. Her next step is graduate school in Oklahoma.
“I loved the Texas Tech Rodeo Team,” McNeill said. “I did barrels, breakaway and goat tying. I rode all four years and was captain my senior year. I just accepted a graduate assistantship through Oklahoma State University to be the assistant rodeo coach while getting my degree. My master’s degree will be in ruminant nutrition.”
She doesn’t intend to stop there. McNeill wants to get a PhD in ruminant nutrition as well. Growing up on a cattle operation sparked her interest for her future career path.
“I plan on getting a PhD in ruminant nutrition, so I can either work for a consulting company like Merck or Zoetis to help develop feed additives,” McNeill said. “I’ve always been pretty involved in the cattle industry. When I got to school I really liked studying that area, so now I’m just running with it.”
McNeill keeps a string of horses for all the events she competes in.
“I have a 12-year-old bay mare that I have had since my sophomore year of high school and I have had a lot of success on her,” McNeill said. “I’ve been to the CNFR the last two years on her. She is really the only one I’ve had the past six years. I have a lot of other rope horses and stuff too.”
2018 has been a great year for McNeill. She recently competed at the College National Finals Rodeo in Wyoming. She put in the hard work with her new horse and was named the CNFR champion in barrels.
“Last year I bought this horse to add to my string of horses,” McNeill said. “He is an eight-year-old Dash Ta Fame grandson. He’s really cool. That’s who I decided to take up there this year. My bay mare gets pretty tight in that coliseum and it’s really hard for me to have four clean runs. He is a really free runner. I figured he would be my best chance and he was.”
Kimes Ranch Jeans have always been a favorite for McNeill. She is a big fan of the Lola, but has recently found another favorite.
“I liked the Lola a lot, but I just got a pair of the Betty and I absolutely love them,” McNeill said. “They are so comfortable.”
McNeill has a bright future ahead of her in the rodeo world. We are happy to have her on our team and wish her the best of luck on graduate school and the rest of the season.
~ Courtney Hall, photos courtesy of Kynzie McNeill