Chisum Elementary student, Cain Martin, not only fulfilled his dream of roping in Las Vegas during the biggest rodeo event of the year, The National Finals Rodeo, but he left the City of Lights a champion.
“His dad, Casey and I definitely carried the nerves throughout the competition but our boy was cool, calm and handled the pressure like the champ he is,” said mom, Ashley. “This trip will most definitely be unforgettable for us all.”
Roping since he was old enough to swing the rope, Cain has been competing since he was six-years old — starting with sled breakaway roping then roping calves when he was seven.
In order to qualify for the Las Vegas Junior World Finals, he had to accumulate enough points and be in the top 35 ropers in his age division.
“It took a lot of long weekend rodeo hauls and a lot of entry and side pot entries to get him qualified but he did it.”
In the rodeo world, athletes know a good mount is imperative and Cain’s sorrel mare, Reba is nothing less than exceptional.
“Reba plays a very important role in Cain’s roping,” said his mom. “We bought her in 2020 as a seven-year old and she wasn’t sold to us as a ‘kid horse’ as the previous owners felt she was too high caliber of a horse for a kid. Little did they know, Cain is a hand on a horse and they clicked straight away.”
When Reba came to the Martin family, she was known as “That Mare” as she had been turned out after competing for several years as a high caliber heel horse.
“She was more than just ‘That Mare’ to us and was deserving of a more fitting name. With her shiny red coat, spunky attitude and standing at only 14.2 hands, I thought our red-headed gal (sic) should be named Reba. She and Cain have been partners since day one and Cain finished out training Reba in breakaway and tie down. Reba has done her part as well and has taught Cain more in the last three years than any other horse he has ever mounted.”
For the duo, their first trip do Vegas to compete in the Junior World Finals didn’t go as planned after he missed his slack on his first round calf and it ran through his rope before it broke from the saddle horn.
Not ready to return home empty handed, Cain entered another roping event, Chris Neal’s Las Vegas Stars 10U Breakaway Roping and roped all three go-round calves and was “High Call Back Roper” in the short round.
“Cain knew what he had to do by getting a clean, solid gas run in order to win the roping and he did just that.”
Feeling redeemed, Cain not only brought home the title but he was awarded a saddle, large check, new belt buckle, leather jacket and more at the NFR Watch Party on Wednesday night — another TICK on his bucket list.
“Standing on the stage that World Champions walk across every night during the NFR was such a special moment for Cain. He felt on top of the world and you couldn’t wipe a smile off his face. He was proud to walk across that stage and raise his hat to the crown.”
To top it off, the DJ played, “The Mullet Song” as he walked on the stage, which his mom said everyone knows Cain for, his “sweet” mullet.
Back home in Lamar County, Cain is already planning on qualifying for the Junior World Finals next year and defending his title at Chris Neal’s roping event — however, he will move up to the 12U.
“It has been such a blessing that Cain all his local sponsors, as well as, other individuals that have supported him in getting to Vegas to even have this opportunity to rope. We can’t thank everyone enough who has supported, prayed and cheered him on.”
Once all the dust settled, his parents said there was one moment from Vegas that stood out to them the most.
“I looked back before his third round calf and he had his hat across his chest praying and thanking the Lord for his great runs and clean runs ahead. More people in this world need to be more like him.”
Casey, Ashley and Cain would like to thank the following sponsors: