By Frank J. Buchman
“It was awesome, so cool. But, very nerve racking. It came down to team roping, the last event, and I hadn’t team roped since I was a freshman. I had to borrow my brother’s horse and even his rope, but it all came together.”
She is the Iron Woman Champion.
That’s her wrap-up of the highly touted all-girl competition hosted by the Kansas State University Rodeo Club, attracting cowgirls from throughout the Midwest, competing in four cowgirl events.
This year’s winner is Paige Wiseman of Paola, the youngest contestant there, just a high school senior. But, final results easily verify she was the most deserving, placing in every division.
“This is the first year I’ve entered the Iron Woman event at Manhattan, yet I’d been looking forward to competing in it all year. I was having a good day, but it really came to a climax when Michelle Wilson of Osage City heeled for me in the team roping. We placed third, which gave me enough points for the championship,” Wiseman appreciated.
Top contestants in each event receive payback and points toward the all-around title. “Not all contestants compete in all four events.” Wiseman said.
“Honestly, I don’t know what my total payback was, but I got $250 for the championship, and the Iron Woman buckle, that’s what counts,” Wiseman admitted.
Of course, there’s never anything like the thrill of being a champion, but Paige Wiseman is not a newcomer to the rodeo winner’s spotlight. She’s been collecting titles for many years, actually following in boot steps of her parents Kevin and Mandy Wiseman.
“My dad and mom and grandpa have been my inspiration. I couldn’t do anything without them helping me all of the time with everything I do. They have all been winners in the rodeo arena, and know what it requires to compete at the winning levels. Dad still competes all of the time in calf roping , and my brother, Logan, is a freshman, but a top roper, and a big help to me, too,” Wiseman acknowledged.
Riding since she can remember and going to rodeos with her parents all of her life, Wiseman started competing in junior rodeos just about as soon as she was eligible, collecting awards in every event at one time or another.
“I was the all-around winner in the Kansas Junior Rodeo Association two years, and also went to the National Little Britches Finals two times. I ended up third in barrel race and was rookie champion senior cowgirl at the Little Britches Finals in 2012, and was third in breakaway roping in 2013,” Wiseman remembered.
“Logan, now 15, was the goat tying world champion in Little Britches and goat tying reserve champion in the National Junior High School Rodeo Association. So he’s earned his recognitions, too,” Wiseman added as proudly as if her own feats.
Heaviest concentration for Wiseman during the past four years has been in the Kansas High School Rodeo Association and working to qualify for the National High School Rodeo Association Finals.
She has won state high school titles in cutting, breakaway roping, pole bending and goat tying, and most prestigiously has been named the all-around cowgirl in the Kansas High School Rodeo Association for the past two years.
“Of course, it’s every high school rodeo contestant’s goal, but I’ve really been fortunate to qualify all three years for the National High School Rodeo Finals. I hope to qualify for the nationals in several events again this spring,” Wiseman speculated.
Her high school record again proves Wiseman’s abilities. Qualifying in several events each year, the Kansas cowgirl was 11th in the goat tying at the national high school finals as a freshman; seventh in the national finals pole bending as a sophomore, after winning the short go-round; and she also qualified for the short go-round in the national finals girls cutting last year.
“I had a 19.7 seconds run in pole bending, which was my fastest time ever in that event, to win the short go-round at Nationals as a sophomore,” Wiseman noted.
Now, verifying her all-around cowgirl ability, Wiseman competes in five events in the Kansas High School Rodeo Association: girl’s cutting, breakaway roping, goat tying, barrel racing and pole bending. “It gets pretty hectic, but I’ve really been blessed,” she confessed.
Presently ranked high in the standings, depending on the spring rodeos, Wiseman could readily end up in the yearend top four, qualifying for the National High School Finals Rodeo, in all five events. It’d certainly be a record of sorts.
Wiseman is also a member of the Bloomer (trailer) High School Rodeo Team, as well as the Resistol (hat) Best All-Around Team.
Of course, all-around cowgirl ability is essential, but Wiseman readily admitted horsepower is an equally important ingredient to winning championships.
“I’m so fortunate to have outstanding horses to ride. I ride a different horse in each event. With my brother’s team roping and calf roping horses, we take seven horses to the Kansas high school rodeos,” she said.
The family has a five-horse Bloomer trailer, and sends the other two mounts with another family that has trailer space.
Obviously, naming a favorite horse would not be easy, and Wiseman wouldn’t claim one readily.
“They’re all very good. I love them all. They all do their specific event better than others, yet some of my horses could be very competitive in several events, if I didn’t have another horse that was better,” she emphasized.
Rattling off ample abilities of each horse, Wiseman did set an order of recognition.
“Chicken is absolutely phenomenal in breakaway roping. I grew up roping on him. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to ride such an awesome equine athlete,” she said.
Riding Chicken, last year, Wiseman was the state high school breakaway roping champion, and also the breakaway roping champion at the Junior Lewis Challenge of Champions. Previously on Chicken, the cowgirl has won breakaway roping at the Future Stars and Joe Beaver Junior Superstars Roping competitions.
Almost impossible to keep track as the champion cowgirl continued crediting her horses.
“Ironman is my pole bending horse; the one who ran 19.7 seconds at Nationals when I was a sophomore. Horton is just outstanding for goat tying.
“Sailing Harlan, known as Harlie, has been a five-year project, but he’s really coming into his own as a top barrel horse, also one of the best. My cutting horse, Pace, is actually the only horse that came completely trained, but he has taught me the ins and outs of the cutting world,” Wiseman analyzed her mount team.
Difficult to many outsiders, lay people, to comprehend, still, there’s much more to winning than even a talented cowgirl and an outstanding horse.
“We are really big on nutrition for all of our horses. It’s really important that the horses have the correct Purina rations with Prime Performance supplements all of the time, so they perform every time at their best. Mom is very conscientious about how we feed every horse to keep them at their peaks,” Wiseman said.
Although, her horses are highly trained, with ample ability, Wiseman said, “Correct conditioning is essential. My grandpa (Larry Wiseman, former calf roping champion) is a big believer in the Chris Cox training systems, and he does a lot of work with my seasoned horses in the round pen. It really seems to help their minds, and makes the horses more eager to do their best, when I get on them in the arena. It gives me a competitive advantage,“ Wiseman stated.
Feeling fortunate to have an indoor arena and practice cattle right at the home ranch headquarters, Wiseman is able to ride and keep her horses fit throughout the winter, whatever the conditions outside.
“That makes a big difference, and Mom also helps me a lot with keeping my horses conditioned,” Wiseman credited.
A winner in United Rodeo Association events and a yearend finals contender, along with her dad, Wiseman and the family also successfully compete in a number of jackpot rodeo events throughout the country.
Pleased with her recent all-around arena accomplishments, most important now on Paige Wiseman’s mind is the upcoming spring run of Kansas high school rodeos, qualifying for the nationals, and doing her best, hopefully better than ever, her last chance on the high school level to set a lifetime record of achievement.
“Since Mom (the former Mandy Barnes) was the National Barrel Racing Champion when she was in high school, that’s always been my biggest goal to be a national champion,” Wiseman stated emphatically.
Receiving a number of rodeo scholarship offers, Wiseman has accepted the opportunity to be a member of the Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.
“I’m really excited to be going there and be on their team. They call themselves the Champion Factory, and prove it true, as they are one of the very best in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. I plan to compete in all of my events, and qualify for the college finals the next four years. Go Dawgs,” Wiseman exclaimed.
Wiseman intends to major in accounting. “I want to become a Certified Public Accountant and work in the oilfield business, like my dad has,” she said.
“I’ll turn 18, on March 7, have bought my Women’s Professional Rodeo Association card, and I’m entered in my first professional rodeo at Springfield, Missouri, in late March. My ultimate goal is to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. I’ll always compete in rodeos,” summarized the Iron Woman Cowgirl Paige Wiseman.