Martin High School student crowned Rodeo Champion

From prospect shows to breakaway roping, Martin High School rodeo athlete, Triana Garcia has been selected to represent Team Mexico at the 2023 National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillett, Wyoming. 

As part of the Mexico National High School Rodeo Team, Trianna was named back-to-back State Champion for Tamaulipas in both Breakway and Team Roping. Competing in Texas and Northern Mexico, she then became one of three girls to make it to Nacionales in Chihuahua, Chihuahua and become a National High School Finals Rodeo qualifier in both events. “It’s a proud feeling. The fact that I am from Laredo where there’s a lot of people that rope from around the world and to be able to represent Mexico, and my family, it’s an honor,” she said. 

According to the Cowboy Channel website, breakaway roping is a rodeo event that features a calf and one mounted cowgirl. The breakaway roper is behind a taut rope fastened with an easily broken string which is fastened to the rope on the calf. Once the rope is around the calf’s neck, the roper signals the horse to stop suddenly. The rope is tied to the saddle horn with a string. When the calf hits the end of the rope, the rope is pulled tight and the string breaks. The breaking of the string marks the end of the run. The fastest run wins.

Triana is a third-generation rancher by blood. Growing up, she saw her grandfather, dad, and uncles riding bulls and roping calves. “As soon as I saw my dad on a horse, or with anything with ropes, I just wanted to be there. I was always in the horse pens and you couldn’t take me out.” In fact, her parents were Future Farmers of America (FFA) members at MHS.

With a demanding sport, Triana has big responsibilities. Her dedication has taken her day-to-day with no minute to waste. Triana’s routine starts at five in the morning feeding the lambs, then feeding the horses a special diet of oats and hay, while she waits for both breeds to finish she makes sure every animal has water, pens are closed and are set for the day. She gets ready for school, has breakfast, attends classes at MHS, goes back to the ranch, exercises and trains with her horses or lambs, and finishes her day approximately by 11 p.m. 

Triana trains and competes with her nine-year-old horse, Suave. Additionally, she has a 17 year old horse named Tata. “They love to be ridden and brushed. Tata is a little Houdini. He somehow learned to untie himself and wander off at the ranch.” 

Triana’s plans don’t stop there. She plans on going pro one day. While Team Roping is a male dominated sport, its challenges haven't stopped her from succeeding. She remembers the time they were at Nacionales gambling her win at Jackpots. Approximately 600 teams competed and about 98% of them were male partners and about two or three young ladies roping. Triana got a third high call back, but her team had no luck. In the short round the announcer called her name and every audience member and roper turned their eyes on her in awe. “It was like a ‘woah, I kind of did that’ moment,” she said. “The most challenging part for me has always been the mental game of it all. You can psych yourself out. I do practice runs at home and that can be the difference between winning a buckle and not winning any money. It’s a lot of pressure when you have so many people looking at you and a lot of people are recording. It kind of psyches you out, but if you have the mental game of ‘I’ve done this round a million times’ then it just works.”

From training to rodeo championships, Triana’s success has been constant thanks to her family’s support. “It’s a family affair. When it comes to training, my mom will do her notes while she’s doing her work. My dad works, but my sisters assist in his absence. I do my part and get the horses and steers ready. My sister records and my dad helps me by getting the cattle going and fixing any issues.”

MHS Agricultural Science Teacher and FFA Advisor Kassandra Garcia, who happens to also be Triana’s sister, mentions how “It’s definitely an all hands-on deck situation when we're home. We all come together at home and discuss the who, what, when, where and why. When it comes to the day of competition, she’s locked and loaded. She knows what she needs to get done both in the show ring and in the arena. Outside of competition, we help her every way we can. On competition days, we take the back seat and let her do her thing.”

Apart from her active participation in rodeos, Triana is part of the FFA at MHS. She has won buckles and placement banners while participating in prospect shows and showmanship. Prospect shows are aimed to see the progress of lambs throughout the year. There are judges that help determine how the animal is doing and what it's missing to reach its preparation goal. Similar to it, showmanship is the member’s ability to show the animal to its best advantage.

As a member of FFA, Triana helps her sister manage the lambs. Kassandra breeds and sells affordable animals to compete in the animal project contest through FFA or 4-H. “Some people struggle but she has the heart to help them out as much as she can. That’s one of the main reasons she wanted to do this. It was to give kids the opportunity to compete,” Triana added.

At 17 years old, Triana became the newest member of the 2023 Smarty Young Pro Team. Smarty Rodeo and Creative Services provides tools to help train and promote individuals in the rodeo industry and offers innovative training and practice products, apparel, saddles, tack and more. Additionally, Triana has landed a sponsorship with ProHats, a company that produces quality custom cowboy straw and felt hats.

“I am super proud of Triana’s accomplishments! Not only does she excel in her extracurricular activities but she also does her very best in all her classes,” Kassandra said. “We help her prepare by taking her to camps/clinics when possible. She’s gone to showmanship camps and rodeo clinics where she gets trained by national champions. We try to give her every opportunity available to help her improve, as long as she wants it. Both industries are constantly changing so the only way she can keep up is by refining her skills every year.”

Triana aspires to be a role model to young females following her footsteps. As an accomplished champion, she shares her wisdom for anyone wanting to excel in this sport. “Anything is possible. I've experienced it. I've done it. If you really want it and if you really have that drive to achieve anything in life, you'll get there, but there's one thing that’s stuck with me: there's always somebody looking at you,” she adds. “I think it's a really big thing when it comes to rodeo because people look at you and it's your first impression of anything. I've always said make sure you're helping, you have manners, and you're being positive. Every day you have a lot of eyes looking at you so be that person people want to be around you.”

Triana will compete at the 75th Annual National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyoming from July 16 through July 22 under the Breakaway Roping category.