Holcomb to compete at National High School Rodeo Finals

Next month, a 2021 Stone High School graduate will represent the state of Mississippi at the National High School Rodeo Finals in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Mickayla “KK” Holcomb, along with her 14-year-old gelding, Who Me, will compete in the barrel racing division after taking top honors at the Mississippi High School Rodeo finals in Hattiesburg the week of June 1.

“Barrel racing is like the air I breathe,” Holcomb said. “I crave the adrenaline rush every time I run barrels.”

In barrel racing, a horse and rider run a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels as fast as they can, without knocking any barrels over. Faster runs are under 20 seconds.

Holcomb and Who Me average anywhere from 14.5 to 15 seconds.

At the finals, Holcomb ran three rounds for points. The points with each score are added to a summary of points earned at rodeos throughout the year. The top four in each event are taken to represent Mississippi.

Holcomb was second in the first round and placed first in the next two. She earned the top average of her division, cementing her place in the national rodeo.

She also received a scholarship from the National High School Rodeo Association and was honored along with 31 other seniors for 2021.

Stone High School does not have a high school rodeo team, so Holcomb rides under Mississippi. She also competes in pole-bending and goat tying.

Rodeo is in her blood.

The daughter of Carl Thrash and Amy Holcomb Thrash, she is a third-generation barrel racer.

Holcomb’s grandmother competed through the years. Her mother competed in the Mississippi High School Rodeo and other rodeo circuits as well.

Holcomb has been riding ever since she was six years old. She first competed on a Welsh pony named Shake N Bake.

“That’s where my love started for rodeo,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb currently trains with Feb Dedeaux in the Magnolia Community. She has spent years honing her skills and training her horse.

Nationals will take place from July 18 until July 24. After the rodeo is over, Holcomb will return to Stone County where she intends to train horses and teach riding lessons the rest of the summer.

This fall, Holcomb will attend Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. She wants to become a registered nurse one day.

But she will never leave rodeo behind for good.

“I still plan to ride professional rodeo,” she said.

Holcomb said she is extremely grateful for the support from her grandmother, mother, and father, who is currently deployed.

“A special thanks to my mom and grandmother for countless hours and sacrifices that they made so I could follow my dream,” Holcomb said. “I would like to add another special thanks to my dad, who has sacrificed so much to defend our country as well as to support me and my efforts.”