Making the National Finals Rodeo was never about Kassidy Dennison.
The New Mexico barrel racer reached that pinnacle two years ago by finishing the regular season in 10th place in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.
While qualifying for the NFR in Las Vegas, Nev., was a personal goal of hers, Dennison used that historic run as a way to inspire others.
“When I made the NFR, it wasn’t necessarily about me,” she said. “I wanted to show that you could come from the reservation and still make it.”
With that she developed her Facebook page – Kassidy Dennison Inspire Page.
“I hope people look up to me that way,” she said. “I want to reach out to others and get them involved, whether it be rodeo or other stuff.”
Dennison said there are a lot of talented Native American barrel racers and she urged them to get out of their comfort zone and try the WPRA.
“If it’s your dream and you’re truly passionate about it – go for it,” she said.
And while she doesn’t consider herself a true pioneer, Dennison said she was blessed to have her horse Eagle. With great chemistry they dominated Indian pro rodeo before they opted to go fulltime with WPRA.
It took her four seasons on the tour before she made it big in 2014 when she collected over $34,000 at the NFR to push her year-end total to $126,071.
After that remarkable finish, Dennison decided to step away from rodeoing full time for the 2015 season. She did enter in a few WPRA rodeos last season but at the start of this year she was asked to be part of the Elite Rodeo Athletes.
The ERA is a new organization that showcases the top rodeo athletes in the world. It is billed as the “League of Champions” that features 87 of top rodeo athletes representing over 130 world titles between them.
“I am very honored to be apart of an elite group,” Dennison said.
WPRA world champion Lisa Lockhart said Dennison bring something different to the table.
“There is no doubt that she’s an elite athlete,” Lockhart said of Dennison. “She has proven it at many arenas at a very young age. She is a great representative of this sport and it was a no brainer to have her onboard with us. We are elated to have her and she’s an awesome person.”