MPCC Rodeo Team names new timed events rodeo coach

keeley vaughan
Monday, January 8, 2024

Keeley Vaughan has been named as the new timed events rodeo coach for the Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo Team.

She began serving as interim timed events rodeo coach in September and moved into the more permanent role Jan. 2. Although the team is area-wide, Vaughan will be based out of McCook.

“I’m looking forward to helping the athletes progress in their roping abilities,” Vaughan said. “I really enjoy the horsemanship part of rodeo and always enjoyed helping kids figure out what works for them. I really like being around those who want to win and watching their skills bloom and flourish.”

Vaughan is originally from Klamath Falls, Ore. She won her first leadline class in a horse show at age 2.

“I grew up horseback,” Vaughan said. “My mom ran barrels, and my dad was a cowboy for a local ranch, so I went to work with him a lot. In eighth grade, I wanted to learn how to rope, and my dad taught me the basics. As I got older, I did junior rodeos, junior high rodeos and high school rodeos. I got in with Dean Walker, and he ended up teaching me everything I know and supplied me with a horse. That’s who I owe for all that.”

Because her family’s farm is on the Oregon and California border, Vaughan high school rodeoed in California. She qualified for state all four years in barrel racing, goat tying and girls cutting and competed at the Silver State International Rodeo, which is open to National High School Rodeo Association members who place fifth through 25th at their state finals.

Following her graduation from Henley High School, in Klamath Falls, in 2015, Vaughan continued her rodeo career at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Ore.

“When I went to community college, I was taken care of on a personal level,” Vaughan said. “It didn’t seem overwhelming. I wasn’t just another kid passing through the halls as a number. That meant a lot to me, and that personal feel is something I want to carry on at MPCC.”

She started out studying sports medicine at Treasure Valley, but because of low enrollment, the program was canceled. Vaughan was already on the rodeo team, so she stayed but changed her major to equine production.

She qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo in barrel racing in 2016 and earned an associate degree a year later.

Vaughan subsequently returned home and took a job training rope horses for Bill Hill Quarter Horses. She also stepped up her game in the rodeo arena, buying a Women’s Professional Rodeo Association card and qualifying in breakaway roping for the WPRA World Finals in Waco, Texas in 2018.

Vaughan made her way to the Midwest four years ago where she continues to compete at amateur rodeos and local jackpots. She has spent the past couple of years working for H. J. Farms and Ranches at McCook.

She was asked to mentor the MPCC Rodeo Team’s breakaway contestants prior to her selection as interim and is looking forward to building on the momentum that has already been established.

“Moving forward, I really want our top breakaway roper to win the region,” Vaughan said. “Our men’s team has been doing great things all season, and I want to continue that, but I also want to get the ball rolling on the women’s team. I would love to see them start making more short gos and placing at more rodeos, so I plan to focus on getting a little stronger in that area.”

The MPCC Rodeo Team has had a break in competitions since October. The season will resume in April.