No barrel racing competitions for mom and daughter this year
- Jeanelle Mandes | May 29, 2020
A lifelong passion for a mother and daughter in the sport of barrel racing has been put on hold due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Hailing from the Kahkewistawhaw First Nation, Sonya Dodginghorse and her 14-year-old daughter Cayda are a bit disappointed that this summer will be their first year where they won’t be competing in the rodeo circuit.
“Our season (will) be cut short so we won’t be able to ride as much (since) all the rodeos have been cancelled,” said Cayda. “It’s kind of sad. I’m going to miss seeing everybody (in the rodeo circuit).”
Cayda has been riding horses since she was five years old. She learned how to barrel race in rodeos from her mother.
“She taught me to keep practicing…I would practice barrel work at home,” she said. “I look up to my mom.”
The love for horses has been an intergenerational trend for Sonya’s family. Her father, former Chief of Kahkewistahaw First Nation Louis Taypotat, is a respected rodeo pioneer in Indian country. Taypotat is known for founding the Prairie Indian Rodeo Association and the International Indian Finals Rodeo. It’s a lifestyle Sonya is proud to inherit.
“My dad is a champion calf-roper and rancher. My brothers are ropers and my one sister, Chooch, is a roper and still rides,” she said. “We grew up around horses my entire life.”
Sonya was riding horses before she could walk and entered her first rodeo at the age of five.
“There was a rodeo in Broadview and I wanted to enter,” she said. “I got my first thrill when I entered and have been hooked since then.”
That thrill has been passed down to her daughter Cayda and it’s something that she hopes to continue for years to come.
“It’s a real humbling sport,” said Sonya. “Every run isn’t perfect but when you do have a great run, it’s the greatest feeling of being able to do what you do.”
With hopes that the Coronavrirus restrictions will be lifted in the near future, the Dodginghorse gals are giving their horses a break in the meantime.
“It’s a feeling of missing that lifestyle so much, but we are getting a lot done around our ranch and spending a lot of time together,” she said.
The Dodginghorses are planning on competing in the Las Vegas Indian Nationals Finals Rodeo (INFA) this October. It’s not the competition aspect that they are looking forward to but doing something that they both love doing together. At last year’s INFA competition, the duo competed against each other in the Women’s Barrel Racing competition, which was a memorable experience for them both.
“It was really fun competing against her,” said Cayda. “My mom got first and I took fifth (place).”
Cayda, Sonya and her husband Brent Dodginghorse live in Tsuutʼina Nation, Alberta.