South Dakota woman wins Little Britches world title

Farm Forum

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Since she was 4 years old, rodeo has been a part of Karlie Robertson’s life.

The recent New Underwood High School graduate has been a part of rodeos at the local, 4-H, Northwest Ranch Cowboy Association and high school level, but now she can call herself a world champion.

Robertson won the National Little Britches Senior Girls Breakaway title this month in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and finished first in the final Little Britches standings, giving her the world championship.

Robertson said she didn’t know she had won anything until the end of the rodeo when the top riders were called to the arena floor. What happened next was pure bliss.

“I didn’t know they were calling us down to the arena floor in order,” she told the Rapid City Journal. “I checked the list and saw my name at the top, it was really exciting. I still don’t know how to feel about it. I’ve never gone to a big rodeo like that, and to do as well as I did was incredible.”

It was a title that just a few weeks ago seemed impossible to Robertson. She hadn’t qualified for the South Dakota state rodeo and was feeling down on herself after an unsuccessful season.

“I was pretty low; I was pretty hard on myself,” she said. “I didn’t know what I was doing, why I couldn’t catch any of my calves.”

Despite not having the senior season she wanted to for New Underwood, Robertson’s support system still believed she could do great things in Oklahoma.

Convinced by her parents and her boyfriend, Herbie O’Daniel, and his family, Robertson decided to make the 12-hour drive to Oklahoma, just hoping to get some of her confidence back.

“I wouldn’t have made it down without the support I got,” she said. “I drove down with my boyfriend’s family, and I’m really glad I listened to them.”

Robertson’s mother, Pasty, came down to Oklahoma for the second go and said it was incredible to see her daughter fight back from adversity and win the world title.

“On such a large scale, it was so much fun to see her gain her focus and do well,” she said.

The title was not on Robertson’s mind when they went down to Oklahoma. Although her supporters thought she had a chance to win the rodeo, the world title is a cumulative points championship, and she came in ranked 94th in points.

“I didn’t think I would compete for the title,” she said. “I just wanted to go down and catch all three of my calves and have some fun, gain some ground back.”

It was her second season in Little Britches, but last season she only competed in rodeos that were in Rapid City. This season she competed in more, but none that were as big as the one in Oklahoma.

After her first go she was a third of the way to her original goal, catching her calf in 3.64 seconds.

That go gave her the biggest jump in rankings, as she went from 94th to 12th and started thinking she could make some noise in the final standings.

During her second go she caught her calf in 2.9 seconds, giving her a serious shot at the national title.

“I knew I had a pretty good average,” she said. “If I could catch my last calf in about three seconds, I knew I would end up in the top three in average.”

She did just that, catching her final calf in 3.04 seconds and getting some help from the field, as the two girls in front of her weren’t able to catch their calves.

When that happened, Robertson said, she started to realize what was happening.

“It was crazy. When I got this chance people said I had a shot at winning the rodeo,” she said. “It’s starting to sink in a bit, now that everyone is trying to talk to me.”

Robertson plans to compete in rodeo for Eastern Wyoming College.