Hope, New Mexico’s Maddy Deerman entered the 2022 Turquoise Circuit Finals with the goal of winning both the year-end and average titles, which she accomplished at the event held in Camp Verde, Arizona, Nov. 4–5. It’s a goal she first set in 2021, but academic commitments prohibited her from seizing the opportunity last year.
“I was in undergrad school at Tarleton [State University] and I had a field trip that I could not get out of,” Deerman said. “I just decided, you know, there will be more circuit finals. I really wanted to go to the Finals and actually get to compete, but I really, really wanted to go to the NFR Open. That was a huge goal.”
The geoscience major, who aspires to become a petroleum geologist in the oilfield, balanced schoolwork and entered only six rodeos in the Turquoise Circuit throughout the 2022 ProRodeo regular season. She maintained her lead in the standings with $8,638.07 in earnings with her biggest check coming from Arizona’s Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo, where she won $5,253 over the Fourth of July.
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“This season was great,” Deerman said. “I won the first round at Prescott and second in the average. I also won money at Lovington [Lea County Fair & PRCA Rodeo] and Socorro [Fair & PRCA Rodeo]. I was a little worried I wouldn’t get my circuit count. I think I got the bare minimum.”
Her closest competitor, Florence, Arizona’s Kacey Mahoney, who won the 2022 Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo, was less than $880 behind Deerman going into the Circuit Finals.
“We were kind of neck and neck, but ahead of a lot of people for the year-end,” Deerman said.
With a small lead but a determined mindset, Deerman entered the Turquoise Circuit Finals Rodeo with a solid game plan.
“Going into the Circuit Finals I knew that if I got average money, I was more than likely to go ahead and go out on top. I was just focused on getting a safe start and roping my calf. All my calves that I roped I had shots that I could have taken from a stride back, but I just decided to kick up and take that high percentage shot.”
Deerman was 3.1 in the first round for third and $358, 2.8 in the second round for fourth, and 2.9 in the third round for fourth and $179. With a total time of 8.8 seconds on three, she took first in the average and $1,073, while earning $1,610 in total for the year-end title.
“Of course, the average and year-end awards were really important for me. I set a goal to win both of them going into the Finals because I just feel like that’s a good way to start out. I was focused on the year-end award because I grew up in the Turquoise Circuit, you know, always hearing about the Circuit. With that being my first year to compete in the breakaway, I was focused on getting that award.”
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The average and year-end weren’t her only awards. Deerman’s 14-year-old palomino gelding, Shiners Lil Lad (“Yeller“), was also named the Turquoise Circuit Breakaway Horse of the Year.
“Honestly, for me, winning the Horse of the Year is much more important than those other two awards,” Deerman said.
The gelding has come a long way since Deerman got him as a 2-year-old.
“He used to be called Glue Stick because he was such a puke,” Deerman said. “He had an arrogant attitude and would do exactly the opposite of what you wanted.”
After nearly bucking off her dad on a rattlesnake, Deerman’s dad said to her, “We’re either going to sell him or you can take him and see if you can make something out of him.”
Deerman took him and transformed him into her No. 1 mount and even won the Horse of the Year award during her eighth-grade year in junior high rodeo.
“It’s kind of special to me that he has just stayed with me throughout the whole time. From junior high to college and ProRodeos, he always adjusted to be exactly what I need. The most special thing for me is him winning this award.”
Deerman is now taking these titles back to Texas Tech where she is currently attending graduate school. She is focused on getting her degree right now but looks forward to participating in the 2023 NFR Open in Colorado Springs, Colorado in July.
“I’m more focused on getting my master’s degree before I really commit to rodeo full time. It’s kind of tough in the moment, but I know it’ll pay off after grad school.”