Katelyn McLeod graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and is back at her alma mater as a grad assistant for the rodeo team and taking classes towards a Masters in Sports Administration.
When she isn’t in the classroom, Katelyn spends the majority of her time on the road traveling with her mom, Michelle McLeod, and a string of horses.
“For the pro rodeos, we usually only take a month or two off,” she said. “For jackpots and open rodeos there is always something to go to, so we are always traveling.”
Traveling with a full trailer that is, taking at least three horses when they hit the road.
Perhaps the most noteable, Slick By Design. A 2007 stallion by Designer Red out of a Dream on Dancer mare, “Slick” is a three time NFR qualifier who has run the fourth fastest time ever at the NFR.
Katelyn has seen the bond develop between Michelle and Slick, and says that they share a special relationship.
“Slick is the most well-mannered stud I have ever been around. He is the sweetest, kindest animal. He loves my mom and they have such a special bond. To be around both of them and experience the connection they have is pretty neat, she can read him and knows him so well,” she said. “He is a gentleman and truly loves his job of running barrels.”
In years past, the NFR has been the light at the end of the tunnel for the McLeod family.
“The NFR is so exciting to me just for the fact that we have worked so hard during the summer that to be at Vegas in December is like ‘We have truly made it, all our hard work has paid off’,” she said. “I say ‘we’ because it is such a team thing for all of us, we each play a role in my mom making the finals. I love being around the top 15 barrel racers and can truly learn something from each one of them.”
Although they won’t be headed to the Thomas & Mack this year as competitors, Katelyn is still looking forward to making the trip.
“I really enjoy going to the town. December 4th is my birthday, so each year we have done something different and it has made it so fun to see a new side of Las Vegas that we missed out on the year before,” she said. “We have our usual spots we go to, but seeing different casinos is awesome too. Each year is a different set of people so hanging out with new faces and watching the different people win is a fun experience.”
After getting a taste for Vegas and living behind the scenes, Katelyn hopes to run down the alley herself one day.
“Now that I have gotten a feel for what it is like to be at the NFR I can’t wait to run down that alley,” she said. “I love rodeoing, and being able to travel the country with my mom made my rodeoing adventures that much better. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”