One year ago, 15-year-old Kerstin Freeman roped two calves in 6.49 seconds during the Qualifying Rounds of the 2022 Rodeo Corpus Christi. She would take home the Division Youth Incentive and qualify for the Progressive Round. This year, the now 16-year-old has done the same thing again, and with a better outcome.
Last year’s Progressive Round may have ended up less than ideal for Freeman, but it’s certainly going well for her this year. The high school junior was the last girl to rope on May 10, 2023, and her 1.74-second run—the fast time of the week so far—gave the round a picture-perfect, Hollywood ending.
“I was last out and I knew what my calf was going to do, so I just saw a drop,” said Freeman, a Cooper, Texas, native. “I’m not sure if I completely saw that, but I think I stretched the barrier a little bit and he was right there, and I just got it on him, and it worked out.”
Freeman’s plan was to take care of business, but she also used being last out to her advantage.
“I guess my plan was to just see what was done before me, but I mean, I’m not really supposed to do that,” Freeman said with a laugh. “My plan was to just go do my job and see a drop and rope the calf.”
Freeman was riding a her 9-year-old mare, Moonshine, that she’s had for three years. The mare is honest and gives Freeman the same run every time.
“I’m pretty excited,” Freeman said. “My horse worked great and gave me the opportunity to win, and I’m just looking forward to Saturday. It’s really exciting to be able to go and make a good run like that.”
“I’ve had some experience and am kind of getting used to it but, then of course, when you come to bigger stages like this, it’s a little nerve-wracking,” Freeman said.
WCRA DY nominations
Freeman uses her youth events to nominate for WCRA DY points, and it’s safe to say it’s worked in her favor. Coming to Corpus and qualifying for the World Championship Junior Rodeo at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma, are always goals for her.
“I like coming to Corpus,” Freeman said. “It’s a fun rodeo getting to rope here on the beach. And, then, nominating for the junior rodeo in Guthrie, of course. I nominate for that, too.”
The WCRA is a whole family affair for the Freemans. Garrett, Freeman’s older brother, also competes in the DY incentive, and her family is always supporting her. In Corpus, she’s competing with her dad behind her … and her calf.
“Him and my mom are my biggest helpers, and they do everything they can to get me where I need to be,” Freeman said. “He was pushing my calf and then I had Hali (Williams) in the box with me.”
- Kerstin Freeman (DY), 1.74, $1,600
- Kamryn Robison (DY), 2.23, $1,200
- Taylor Hanchey, 2.28, $800
- Audrey Thibodeau, 3.11, $400
The next perf
The third and final Progressive Round takes place Friday, May 12, to determine the remaining two teams that will progress to Saturday’s Showdown Round.