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North girl qualifies for Junior NFR

November 13, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

A 12-year-old North Fort Myers girl is fast becoming one of the top barrel racers in the country.

Next month, Madison Murphy will make her second trip to the Junior National Finals Rodeo.

Murphy qualified by placing third in a qualifier in Jackson, Miss., in June that included 150 riders throughout the U.S. and Canada. Others made it by earning points in rodeos throughout the year.

Article Photos

Madison Murphy rides in a recent rodeo.


"I feel very fortunate to be able to go there and I'm very excited. I went last year and it was a fun experience," Murphy said. "Me and my horse (named Flitopepto) have really clicked."

Murphy will be one of 160 contestants competing at the KK Run for Vegas/ Junior World Finals Barrel Race and Pole Bending, set for Dec. 10 - 14 in Las Vegas at the convention center. The event will be held in conjunction with the National Finals Rodeo, the sport's grand finale.

Each competitor (age 17 and under) will run twice, and the top 20 contestants with the fastest two-run cumulative times will advance to the championship round.

Murphy has been riding since age 3, when her mother got her involved with the Junior Posse. She started riding at the Cracker Day Rodeo, where she won the all-around title in 2017, and many of the jackpot races.

"My mom always rode horses and she got me into it at a young age. It was at the Junior Posse where I met all my friends and got really good at barrels," Murphy said.

Over the summer, Murphy took her horse all over the country to compete in races, which prepared her for qualifying for the Junior NFR.

She has also added pole bending and breakaway roping to her repertoire.

Murphy said she wants to become a professional barrel racer when she grows up, but at the same time her mom wants her to have a backup plan and go to college. So, she could go to a school that offers rodeo.

Competing in such an event is an expensive undertaking. Last year it cost $11,000 for Murphy to go. This year she will bring two horses, which will make the trip more expensive. Murphy has raised $3,000 so far.

A few weeks ago, the Lee County Posse Arena held a benefit race to help defray the cost of her and Kylie Perra to go to the NFR.

"That turned out really well. We had a lot of people turn out and we had a good time. My grandparents own Lawhon's so they helped out a lot with that. A lot of people helped," Murphy said. "I'm so grateful for my family and friends that have helped and supported me."



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