Risk pays off for Farwell barrel rider

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Farwell’s Cassie Moseley was fourth in the nation in barrel racing last year.

By Eric Butler: Freedom New Mexico

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.”