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Ignacio’s Teryn McWhirter commits to rodeo at Ranger College

The Ignacio senior specializes in breakaway roping
Ignacio High School senior Teryn McWhirter displays her signed commitment to rodeo at Ranger College in Ranger, Texas on April 15. (Courtesy Lea Leggitt)

Ranger College in Ranger, Texas is getting a local competitor in rodeo. Ignacio senior Teryn McWhirter signed her commitment to Ranger College on April 15 in front of family and friends at Ignacio High School.

“We are so proud of Teryn's accomplishments both in the arena and academically,” said Ignacio High School Athletic Director Jennifer Moore. “Her achievements serve as an inspiration to our entire community, demonstrating the importance of hard work, determination, and pursuing one's dreams.”

It’s quite the change of heart for McWhirter who wasn’t even sure she wanted to go to college.

“I kind of want to be done with rodeoing in that sense,” McWhirter said. “I didn't really think I wanted to do college rodeo or maybe even go to college. It was a spur-of-the-moment deal. I cannot tell you where it came from. But I think it's the right path for me.”

The right path appeared for McWhirther after she reached out to Ranger and went on a visit. She thought rodeo coach Llew Rust was very down to earth and McWhirter had heard a lot of great things to make her feel like Ranger was the right fit for her.

Rodeo is a unique sport because high school and college athletes can get paid for doing well in competitions. McWhirter said she earned money in high school rodeos and the Colorado Professional Rodeo Association. But college rodeoing isn’t about the money for McWhirter.

McWhirter began riding horses when she was young and her parents didn’t have any experience in rodeo. Her cousins and her aunt did have experience which got McWhirter interested. She grew up as a barrel racer and didn’t start breakaway roping until between seventh and eighth grade. Once McWhirter tried it she fell in love and stuck with it.

“Anything that involves me having to get off my horse at a high rate of speed is just not for me at all,” McWhirter said. “But I've run polls, I’ve run barrels and I team roped a little bit in the mix over the summer. But something about breakaway roping just stuck with me.”

McWhirter had success early on in her high school rodeo career and won state in Colorado her sophomore year. She then took her junior year to build a better understanding of scoring and horsemanship which she said was crucial.

Although Texas has a more competitive rodeo scene and much bigger pool of girls doing rodeo, McWhirter is excited for the challenge. She recently bought a five-year-old mare named Lemon Drop and is looking forward to becoming a better roper.

McWhirter plans on heading to Ranger in August. She wants to major in something related to finance.

bkelly@durangoherald.com