She’s the official “Iron Woman.”
But, in reality this teenager would be more accurately described as an all-around cowgirl.
“Yep, I’m feeling good,” chimed Caxton Martin, 14, Alma.
“Oh, I just did my best, and my horses worked well, too,” she notably-humbly evaluated a success that women multiple per age, and with considerably more experience, certainly envy.
Competing against an open field of more than 40 female riders, Martin was crowned winner of the annual “Iron Woman” event hosted by the K-State Rodeo Club Saturday at Manhattan.
“I competed in goat tying, barrel racing and breakaway roping. I didn’t win any events, but I had solid runs in all of my events that placed me near the top,” Martin explained.
Stopping the stopwatch speedy enough to top many such competitions, Martin tied her goat in 8.1-seconds to be fourth, ran a 12.8-seconds barrel racing pattern to be sixth among the “tough” runners, and, seemingly almost too fast to envision, the cowgirl’s 3-seconds flat breakaway roping run was in the “top ten.”
Team roping was an additional event in the competitions. Contestants could ride in all events, or just three. But, riders had to be entered in three divisions to qualify for the championship title.
“I came up and rode in the barrel race during last year’s ‘Iron Woman,’ but this was really the first time I’ve competed for the title, so that makes it more special,” Martin said.
She won a check for $250, and a trophy breast collar signifying her championship. “I put the money in my savings account and will use it to enter the next rodeo,” the cowgirl said.
Now, collecting this impressive title by such a young woman isn’t just a lucky day, Martin trains to win and has a team of horses credited as essential to her success.
“I ride everyday out in the pasture to keep my horses fit year around, unless it is too slick and would be hazardous,” said the dedicated teenage-cowgirl. “No winter blankets and barn lights for these horses; they’re used to the ranch life.
“But, I’m fortunate to have horses that give their best, or I wouldn’t be able to do it,” Martin appreciated.
Four horses were in the trailer when Martin and her parents and biggest supporters-coaches Chris and Candi Martin pulled into the Weber Arena parking lot.
“I could enter an event more than once, as long as it was on a different horse, and I had to designate which run would count for ‘Iron Woman.’ So, I switched horses and ran the barrels twice and roped twice, and then used my fourth horse in goat tying,” she explained.
Bomber is a young gray mare ridden in barrel racing and breakaway roping, while Salty is a “fast” 11-year-old bay who “is still pretty green at the barrels.”
Her goat tying mount, PW, is credited as “awesome; he runs straight down the pen no matter the arena setup.”
The “all-around family horse” Que is ridden in breakaway roping. “Que is special, because we have owned him since he was a two-year-old, and he’s 13 now. My brother Cooper made him the horse that he is,” Martin insisted.
A high school freshman, the busy cowgirl does her schooling on-line in order to have time to practice, keep her horses fit and compete at rodeos without missing public school.
In the Kansas High School Rodeo Association after the fall run of rodeos, Martin was in the top four standings in breakaway roping and goat tying, and in the top ten in barrel racing.
“My goal is to qualify for the National High School Rodeo Finals, hopefully in breakaway roping and goat tying, as well as barrel racing, but my good barrel horses has suffered from EPM, so I didn’t have the success in the fall rodeos that I wanted to in barrel racing,” said Martin, who has already collected a number of junior rodeo titles in her still very young career.
No question, this teenager is already an “Iron Woman,” Martin looks toward a college rodeo career, and lifetime as a rodeo professional.
Never to take second fiddle to family, Martin noted that her brother, Cooper Martin, now a professional calf roper having come up the junior, high school, and amateur ranks as a champion, is competing full time in Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association competitions, as well as in the Southern College Region, while attending school.