Rodeo has been a huge part of Kendal Fletcher's life for as long as she can remember.
Born in Wainwright, Alberta and raised in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan, she started riding horses when she was just three years old, a time when she was able to familiarize herself with the powerful, speedy creature at a young age. The first time she picked up a rope to practice roping was when she was around 10 or 11. Roping wasn't a serious event for her at the beginning, but once she started participating at high school rodeos at about 13-14 years of age, the sport earned a special place in her heart and she realized that was the direction she wanted to pursue.
Now, the 20-year-old will be competing south of the border while getting her degree thanks to a rodeo scholarship she has received from Lamar Community College in Colorado, U.S.A.
Over the past few years, the Kerrobert native has developed her skills in the rodeo event of roping, earning opportunities to compete at events throughout North America. Once she graduated high school from Kerrobert Composite School in 2017, the possibility of rodeo scholarships were made available, but Fletcher wanted to give herself a chance to decide which field she'd like to study before making a decision. So in the meantime, Kendal entered a two-year massage therapy program at the Professional Institute of Massage Therapy in Saskatoon.
At the 2017 National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyoming, she was approached by the coach at LCC who was impressed with her abilities as a roper. Fletcher eventually got on the phone with the college about the possibility of flying down to Colorado to come check out the school and the community. The college offered Kendal a rodeo scholarship to come study and compete for their rodeo team, and as she puts it, everything worked out from there.
The plan for Fletcher is to complete her program in Saskatoon and get some more practicing and rodeoing ahead of her move to Lamar, Colorado. There, she will study sports medicine and exercise science, which will add to her skills she is receiving from her massage therapy degree.
Other schools such as Odessa College in Odessa, Texas were interested in having her attend their institutions while competing for their rodeo teams, but there was something about LCC and the community that struck a chord with Fletcher.
After hitting it off with the coach and getting the chance fly down to visit the school and the city, she had a gut feeling that this was the place she needed to be.
Even though she'll be a long ways from home, she knows this is the right decision for her future, and her family has supported her every step of the way. As a matter of fact, her mom and brother are even letting Kendal take their horses with her while she attends LCC, for which she is super grateful and added how she couldn't have gotten this far without the help of her parents and siblings.
Accompanying her down to Colorado will be Sonny, who is her breakaway horse, and Nash, her head horse. When asked what she hopes to achieve while being a part of the rodeo team, Kendal replied with this.
It will be a difficult moment leaving her home, her family, her friends. After all, this is the place where she grew up and found her love for rodeos and competing with her horses.
But what awaits her this fall will be the opportunity of a lifetime. Something she has striving to attain for many years now.
Surely, it's only upwards from here for the Kerrobert rider.