Katy Lucas is taking the rodeo world by storm as a competitor, a queen, and a business woman. Photo Credit: Stills by Jill
It is pretty rare to be able to meet a young woman that can transition from the roping arena, to the world stage as Miss Rodeo Canada. Even more rare is a woman that can set down her roping gloves, take off her tiara, and walk into a room as the Director of Marketing/Communications & Public Relations for the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association. Katy Lucas manages to do all of this, while still remaining humble, positive and energetic, and is proving herself as a major player in the business side of the highly competitive pro rodeo world.
Katy grew up in, and still calls, Carstairs, Alberta, home. The daughter of six-time National Finals Rodeo Qualified, and four-time Canadian Tie Down Roping Champion, Joe Lucas, Katy also called the rodeo-road home from an early age. She says that growing up in a rodeo family in general is unique because they spent so much time together, on the road, cheering her dad on. Katy credits rodeo to teaching her many life lessons, early on in life, that include accountability, independence, sportsmanship, and financial responsibility. In the Lucas household, horses were always a big part of life, and Katy was on a horse the minute she was born. On her forehead she even boasts a permanent goose egg from falling off a horse when she was only eight months old. She jokes that, “I’m sure my mom stills asks herself why my dad thought a baby would know what “hold on” meant when he lead the horse I was on through a gate!”
Katy at a Roping in Arizona
Katy has been a tried and true roper from an early age, and never strayed far from her roping roots. At home, she had a great teacher in her father, who she says, “always put me on horses that I could win on, but didn’t win for me. Once I got the roping bug I never looked back.” In fact, she recalls a story told to her by a family friend who came to attend one of her father’s roping clinics. Katy was five at the time, and the family friend was roping the dummy, trying her best to learn. Katy walked right up, handed her dad her fuzzy pink purse, roped the dummy “like my daddy taught me”, collected her purse and walked away. The family friend, and other clinic attendants, stood there stunned by the fact this five year old had just roped the dummy with ease, while they were struggling to master the technique themselves!
In the roping pen, her earliest success was winning the T.R.A.S.H. for Kids roping school in 2004 (TRASH stands for Team Roping at Schmidt House). It’s a team roping clinic that is judged based on roping technique, horsemanship, steer handling, and more. Katy has since gone on to win the 2014 Team Roping Canada Finals with her brother, Kyle. Her biggest success in the roping pen to date, she said it was a tough competition and an even tougher win for the Lucas kids. Katy says, “When it came time for the final round we were sitting number one, which is notorious in the team roping jackpot world for being the hardest spot to win from. When it was our turn to go all we had to do was have a clean run but when I roped my steer my horse really dropped off to the left and I was burning the rope through my hand, missing my dally. My rope finally connected with the saddle horn with about three feet to spare and luckily my brother came flying in and cleaned up the run by catching both back feet and winning it for us. It was my first saddle win and I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I cried like a baby in the middle of the arena when I realized I had won.”
Obviously the Lucas family partnership as worked successfully in the past, but Katy also loves getting out and learning from other’s as well. Riding with other ropers elevates Katy’s game and she tries to rope with higher numbered (higher skilled) heelers when she competes. She says riding among these skilled ropers is a great inspiration and she can take a lot from riding with them. “A lot of the heelers I rope with in competition are professional ropers that make my job easier. They really push steers towards me and that makes it easier for me to catch a higher percentage of steers.” Aside from riding alongside the big guns, Katy also believes in visualization before competition. For Katy, being successful boils down to mental ability over physical. “Every time I get nervous about a run I visualize making it perfectly in my head and it helps calm me down. When I actually go to make the run, I feel like I’ve already done it!”
Katy with her beloved horse, Tater.
Skilled ropers have helped Katy in elevating her game, but so has her horse, Mr. Rai Chicks, also known as “Bear”. Bear came from Keith Grad, and was mainly a heel horse when they purchased him, but with the help from her dad, they have turned him into a heading horse. Katy says that Bear just fits her, and tries so hard to do the right thing and does whatever you ask him to do. “He really takes care of me, and always waits until I’m ready to make a move on a steer, but he can also be cranked right up if someone better rides him and needs to move a little faster.” Bear does indeed come with some quirks though, he can be a bit broncy on the ground, and every so often snorts at a human like he’s never seen one before, especially when he’s fresh. He’s been known to break a few, (or a hundred!) halters because of pulling back and Katy says it truly bothers him when you miss a steer. So much so that he will keep bringing you closer and closer to the steer after that, in the hopes you will finally get it right and catch the darn thing! Katy says that she just keeps forcing her love on him and he’s slowly starting to calm down and trust her. Since buying Bear, Katy has become twice the roper and says that her great mount has paid for himself three times over since buying him.
In regards to the most memorable advice she has been given for her riding is a saying that the family says to each other every time they head out the door down the rodeo road. That saying is, “go get your money”, for the Lucas family, it’s kind of saying to the other person that you’ve worked hard enough that winning should be rightfully yours, it’s just up to you to step up and claim it. As far as roping goes, Katy has her sights set on continuing to go and get her money. She’s attempting to make it down to the Reno rodeo to compete in the woman’s category, called “One Day One Million”, as well as the ladies category in the Wildfire Roping in Texas. She also competes in the World Series Team Roping every year, and has been to the finals twice. Last year the finals paid out over $10 million, and she would definitely like to cut herself off a piece of that pie soon.
The Roping Rodeo Queen Photo Credit: Stills by Jill
From one area of the rodeo world, to another, Katy has also achieved much success as a rodeo queen, her crowning achievement being Miss Rodeo Canada 2015. When she was a toddler, she met Jennifer (Douglas) Smith, Miss Rodeo America 1995. Ever since then, she wanted to become Miss Rodeo Canada, and held titles as Miss Rodeo Carstairs 2008/2009, Alberta High School Rodeo Queen 2010/2011 and then Miss Ponoka Stampede 2014. For Katy, all of her titles helped her along the way, but Ponoka really set her up for success on a bigger stage. She says, “the level of support that the Ponoka Stampede gave to me was amazing. The entire board at Ponoka is made up of men deeply rooted in the history of rodeo and I worried it may be hard to break through that barrier as a young woman. I think the biggest symbol of their support was when I competed for Miss Rodeo Canada and at least one board member showed up to every single Miss Rodeo Canada event to watch me compete – even if it meant sitting through hours of speeches!”
Never a dull moment - wrestling an alligator in Australia!
During the Miss Rodeo Canada competition, Katy ran on little sleep and told herself to be as confident as possible. When it came time to announce her name as the winner, her mind went blank and she completely forgot what to do as the crown was placed on her hat. As MRC Katy became even more patriotic, and one of her favorite moments was carrying the Canadian flag at the Armstrong IPE And Stampede. She said the crowd roared as she made her anthem lap and she could feel their cheers right down into her chest. She can’t think of another moment that made her more proud to be a Canadian, than that one. Another moment during her reign that stands out is at the Pro Rodeo Canada Series Final in Calgary where she partnered with the Make-A-Wish foundation who put her in touch with a little girl that had lost her older sister to cancer. Katy made that little girl, Rosie an honorary Miss Rodeo Canada, and she got to participate in grand entry, talked to the crowd on the microphone, schmoozed with sponsors, and signed autographs like a pro! Katy says, “I was so affected, not by her heartbreaking story, but by the happiness she exuded.”
As Miss Rodeo Canada, there was a lot of pressure, and a lot of eyes on her at all times, and Katy admits it was hard to always measure up to expectations. However, on the flip side, she learned to not care as much about other people and care more about her own expectations for herself. In fact, “because of the title I decided who I wanted to be, not what others wanted me to be.” Indeed, she was herself and worked hard to challenge misconceptions of what it means to be a “Rodeo Queen.” Aside from being “just” a pretty face, like some may think, Katy exuded her passion for rodeo and communication. During her title, Katy made over 700 appearances in three countries, and became a public relations machine for her organization. She brought her pink rodeo dummy with her everywhere she went on the road, and during her Miss Ponoka Stampede reign, even got to rope a steer during the Ponoka rodeo with Miss Rodeo Canada 2014, Nicole Briggs. Instantly, they found themselves plastered all over the internet as “The Rodeo Queens that could rope!”
Katy Lucas, and Nicole Briggs, Miss Rodeo Canada 2015, Roping a steer at the Ponoka Stampede Photo Credit: Mike Copeman
So what is the perfect job for a roping, rodeo queen, superstar? Becoming the Director of Marketing/Communications and PR for the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association. Katy has jumped right into the position and is working on athlete development with the CPRA membership to help them improve their marketing skills, media interview tactics and online presence. She’s helping calculate return on investment for sponsors by tracking the number of eyes on their logos. She’s working on fan engagement by creating exciting social media pages and sharing interesting information about their rodeo contestants, stock contractors, and personnel. For this year, Katy hopes to double their social media following, over-communicating with their membership and has a ton of exciting projects in the work to roll out throughout the year. For Katy, “my greatest ambition is to grow the sport of rodeo and make it better in the second hundred years than it was in the first. There are so many positive things on the horizon for the sport of rodeo, I can’t wait to see what happens!”
Showing off her Canadian pride!
Katy is ambitious, and when she does happen to come across free time, she goes a little stir crazy. Instead she prefers to work during the week and ride in the evenings, which includes teaching riding lessons. She also volunteers as an ambassador for a western women’s organization called La Due Ladies Lunch, and on weekends she competes at team roping’s or attends rodeo’s around the country and beyond to promote the sport she loves. Katy herself loves vintage cowgirl style, and one of her favourite pieces that she wore during her year as MRC was a turquoise Double D Vest that she found in her mother’s closet! She loves to layer jewelry and always tries to have a touch of western style but still likes to balance feminine pieces with masculine touches. Whether that’s mens boyfriend jeans with sparkly heels, or a baseball tee with a skirt. Some of her favourite pieces in her closet include a custom Kippy leather jacket, or her fringe and turquoise Patricia Wolf Belt. For Katy, she may show up in fur, rhinestones, or fringe, but as long as she’s decided there’s a rhyme or reason to her outfit – she’s happy with it!
In the roping pen, she keeps it simple, so she can show off her sponsors, Lone Star Ropes, La Due Ladies Lunch and Lincoln County Oilfield Services. Her sponsors have helped her go down the road, and she’s eternally thankful and grateful for their continued support of her in and out of the roping arena. “I would really like to say a big thank you to my sponsors that have been so faithful tome along the way. Through all my life changes and crazy schedules Lone Star Ropes, La Due Ladies Lunch and Lincoln County Oilfield Services have always been by my side.” Seemingly never idle, Katy lives by the motto, “Though she be but little, she is fierce” by Shakespeare, and what a perfect motto that is to describe the little girl that was born on a horse, and has gone on to transcend so many boundaries as a roping star, rodeo queen and business woman.
Katy Lucas is indeed, little, but fierce. Photo Credit: Stills by Jill