BIG WIN Makayla Boisjoli Gains Confidence with Oakdale Win By Joe Kusek M akayla Boisjoli needed a change. A year ago, Boisjoli was working a Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 job. On weekends, she was rushing to compete at WPRA breakaway roping events.

“It was crazy,” said Boisjoli of juggling numbers and ropes. “I was catching two flights every week to rope. It was tough, very tough.” With help from friend Macy Auclair, of Stephenville, Texas, Boisjoli managed to finish 29 th in the final 2021 WPRA standings while competing at 56 rodeos. Boisjoli, 25, changed jobs in February, with her new Texas-based employer allowing the accountant to work remotely which means more roping and travel for the Canadian. We caught up with her in her trailer during slack at Red Bluff, California. And with work and her ropes within easier reach, Boisjoli is on the right side of the ledger. She threw her loop in 2.6 seconds to jump-start her California rodeo run with a win at the Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo, April 9-10. The victory, her first in 2022, earned her $2,632. Lari Dee Guy, of Abilene, Texas and Josie Conner, of Iowa, Louisiana, split second place at 2.8 seconds while Fallon Ruffoni, of Arroyo Grande, California and Martha Angelone, of Stephenville, Texas shared fourth at 2.9. “This was a really good win,” said Boisjoli, a Canadian who now splits her time between Queen Creek, Arizona and Stephenville, Texas. “It was a great way to start the California run and get some confidence. It felt really, really good. “It’s always nice to win some money but to get the win is a big confidence boost.” Her last victory was at Killdeer, North Dakota on July 4 of last year. Boisjoli did her homework at Oakdale, using notes compiled by Kelsie Domer, of Dublin, Texas. Domer jotted down information on each calf during slack. “I texted Kelsie and asked if she had any notes,” Boisjoli said. “She said, ‘Sure, not sure if you can read them.’ ” The notes said, “He runs hard, stays true, a good calf.” Boisjoli, the first roper out during the final performance, had no problems with her catch. “He was better than good, he was a pretty great calf,” she noted. Boisjoli was originally scheduled to compete in slack but it was the same time as Logandale, Nevada. Boisjoli was traveling with younger sister Shelby and Shelby’s boyfriend Haven Meged, the 2019 PRCA tie-down roping world champion. Shelby Boisjoli was the runner-up in the 2021 WPRA world breakaway roping standings. Makayla traded with Danielle Lowman of Gilbert, Arizona for the slot at Oakdale. “I thank Danielle for doing that,” she said. The Canadian cowgirl was aboard Shooter, a 17-year-old palomino gelding given to her in high school by cousin Jake Watson. Watson, a two-time Wrangler National Finals qualifier (2016, 2019) in saddle bronc riding, used the horse at Panhandle State University for tie-down roping and team roping. “He’s pretty much mine now,” said Boisjoli with a laugh. “I felt good on him right away. He does some things some girls might not like but having ridden him long enough, I know him and got used to those things.”

Boisjoli tries to work during the day when not competing. “I get up around 6 a.m., sometimes 7, to start,” she said. “You’re motivated to get stuff done. Luckily, Shelby and Haven helped me with my horse.” Boisjoli rode the horse at Tarleton State University where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting, the latter in 2020. Calm outside the grandstand, “He’s dog quiet outside the arena, you can put kids on him,” Boisjoli said. However, Shooter gets a little more nervous closer to the arena. “He gets to the arena, hears all the noise and loses his brain,” added Boisjoli. “We try to keep his ears plugged. I’ll be sitting on him like nothing happened. Just ignore it and keep swinging your rope.” Makayla and Shelby honed their roping skills in the practice pen growing up, each trying to better the other. “The practice pen was competitive … but a good healthy competition,” Boisjoli said with another laugh. “There were no side bets. It was more of a prestige thing. Like, I won that day. But we haven’t done that in a while.” The sisters will take different roads this summer. Makayla is uncertain which way she will turn. “I haven’t really made any plans yet at all,” she said. “The start of the year, the goal was to be in the top 20. “Things change, we’ll see how April ends up.” Makayla Boisjoli put all other breakaway ropers on notice that she wants to add another Boisjoli roper to the mix at the National Finals Breakaway Roping at the end of the season. Makayla, whose sister is Shelby, won the Oakdale (California) Saddle Club Rodeo in a quick time of 2.6 seconds ahead of National Cowgirl Hall of Famer Lari Dee Guy and Josie Conner with 2.8-second runs. Photo by Phil Doyle


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