It may be only half over, but 2017 has been quite a productive year for 13-year-old Maci Harvey. The Oakdale Junior High School student has made the most of the first six months of the calendar year as she has been acknowledged for several of her California Junior High School Rodeo Association achievements.
Although Harvey competes in several events in rodeo, her favorite is the pole bending competition. In May, Harvey earned State Championship honors in pole bending with her Quarter Horse Duke. The event advanced her to the National Championship in Lebanon, Tennessee this past weekend. To make it to Tennessee, Harvey competed in seven rodeos and placed in the top five of the district.
“It was a major accomplishment for me to just qualify for the event,” Harvey said.
Although Harvey did not place in the national event, she didn’t let the results impact her appreciation of the overall experience.
“I won’t let that bother me, and like I said it is a big honor just to compete in the event,” she said. “Next year I hope to return.”
Pole bending is a timed event where the rider goes through a series of poles, weaving between them while trying not to touch them. There are six poles that are spaced 21 feet apart from each other.
“The difference between barrel racing and pole bending is that barrel racers use a clover leaf shape course and ours is in a straight line,” the teen explained.
Earlier this year, Harvey won the CJHSRA (California Junior High School Rodeo Association) District 5 All-Around Championship.
“District 5 is made up of several local cities from Oakdale to Turlock, to Merced to Escalon and all in between. Everyone is talented and it takes a lot of hard work to compete at this level,” she added.
In addition to pole bending, Harvey competes in team roping, goat tying, breakaway and ribbon roping. She was a state qualifier in each event this year.
Along with her achievements, Harvey was voted in as the 2017-2018 CJHSRA President, running a campaign and meeting potential ‘constituents’ along the way.
“In May I decided to run and was voted in. It gives me the opportunity to talk to rodeo people state wide. It was fun and also a challenge because at the state finals I had to go up to people and tell them why I would be a great president along with other topics,” Harvey said. “It was definitely a learning experience.”
As president Harvey will report to Fresno where they have meetings and will also travel throughout the state to meet with other rodeo athletes and board members.
Harvey realizes that her success comes from the support of her family and sponsors.
“My family plays a major role in my success. I always wanted to make my grandfather proud. He is a major influence in my life,” she said of her grandfather, Bill Harvey.
Outside the rodeo circuit, young Harvey excels in the classroom where she maintained a 4.0 grade point average and manages her daily chores at home.
“I get up every day and tend to the horses and if it is a school day I go to class and do my best. When I get home I tend to the horses, eat dinner and do my homework,” she said of her routine.
Along with a friend of hers she met on the rodeo circuit, Harvey will also be active this summer in the Passion for People program. The program helps elderly people in the District 5 community with everyday activities and including everything from making basic visits to the elderly to helping them with groceries.