Austin Paddock, a 2014 Oakdale High School graduate, is coming off his most successful year to date in the world of cutting horse competition. In 2015, Paddock competed in five events but in 2016, he entered in over 65 events, winning checks in 48 of them during various cutting competitions for the National Cutting Horse Association throughout the nation.
“Before 2016, I also competed in college rodeo, so my cutting was on the back burner. So when I began hauling for the World Finals in 2016, I did not do the college rodeo so I could focus solely on my cutting,” Paddock explained.
The OHS alum began cutting eight years ago and has made quite a career out of it. In 2016 he was named the NCHA Rookie of the Year for his achievements.
“Rookie of the Year is a first year competitor, or first year out of the youth class,” Paddock noted, adding that he didn’t realize that he qualified for the award until November when a friend of his sent him an image of the standings.
“One of my new cutting friends sent me a message that had the standings on it for Rookie of the Year and I was $2,000 ahead in the earnings. I was amazed at what an accomplishment it really was,” a proud Paddock said of his award. “Nothing beat walking on stage and receiving my awards while everyone that cheered me on all year, cheered for my accomplishments that night in Fort Worth, Texas.”
When he is not competing, Paddock is still working hard on his craft. And whether he is busy with team roping, calf roping or just joking around with his friends and family, Paddock keeps a level head on his shoulders.
“I am always doing something with horses. It’s all fun and it’s the sport I love. It’s just hard because rodeo is year round, not like most sports. So making time for pastimes or free time is something I’ve come to expect not to have much of.”
Only time will tell how 2017 will pan out for Paddock but he does have big plans for the new year. He competed during most of 2016 with his faithful and reliable quarter horse mare named “AA Wild Way” who typically goes by the name “Wendy.” However the duo will not be competing together this year as Paddock made the difficult decision to sell her as he prepares for college.
“2017 is going to be a very different year for me. I recently sold Wendy because I will be going off to college in the fall, possibly out of state. So it would be hard to keep her legged up and in shape when I am not home,” he explained.
Paddock will be pursuing rodeo in the fall for either Fresno State or Kansas State University.