Joy Hatch Finds Happiness – and Success – in Rodeo

Joy Hatch is an 18-year-old advanced honors graduate of Pinecrest Academy Cadence in Henderson, and a dual enrollment Honor student at the College of Southern Nevada working towards her Associate of Science degree. She’s also an accomplished equestrian – she can rope, she can ride and she can shoot. She’s an honest-to-goodness cowgirl. She also happens to be a very kind, funny, studious young woman, eager to talk about the sports that have brought her so much enjoyment.

Joy currently holds the Nevada State High School Championship in the .22 rifle shoot and has for the past five years. She has also placed in the top 18 at the National High School Rodeo Competition for the past three years. She’s been competing since she was a young girl and hopes to have many more years in front of her. She is setting her sights on the 50 Meter Olympic Rifle Competition next.

She started in 4-H activities with the Boulder City 4-H Club, when she was younger, raising rabbits, chickens, goats, cattle, and horses and showing them. Participants have to demonstrate good working knowledge of the animals they raise, in order to impress the judges. That was never a problem for Miss Hatch because as she told us, “We are family.” The members of her group would help each other learn about other species of animals and Miss Hatch was a quick study who was able to pick up and retain the knowledge given to her. 4-H was competitive, of course, but there was also a genuine spirit of cooperation which benefitted all participants.

Once she reached seventh grade, she knew that it was time to try her hand at rodeo. She had grown up around the sport and was intrigued by the various events. She bought a horse, a mare named Krystal, and began barrel racing, pole bending, and goat tying. Later she purchased another mare named Diamond and leased a mare named Lily, and together with Alexis Hart, her mentor, they practiced hard and competed statewide for the next six years. Her talent was apparent and her parents, Cynthia and Richard Hatch, challenged her to develop even more skills. That’s when Miss Hatch picked up the .22 rifle and started competing in rodeo shooting events.

Miss Hatch was originally taught how to shoot the .22 rifle by her father, a 5-year Air Force veteran and trap by Vance Carnes and Robert Clawson two wonderful members of the Boulder City Trap Club. They did a lot of training at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club located here in Boulder City. The Club offers safety classes for young shooters the first Saturday of the month which sparked Miss Hatch’s interest in the shooting events. The Club was even generous enough to sponsor Miss Hatch to help her get to her National High School Rodeo Competitions for the past two years.

She competes in two shooting events: trap shooting and 50 yard .22 rifle shooting. For the 50 yard shooting, she’s required to shoot from three different positions: standing, kneeling and prone. This takes several different skillsets and requires an enormous amount of focus and talent. These proved to be particularly excellent events to showcase her skills and she quickly went on to become the Nevada High School State Champion five times!!

According to Miss Hatch, while winning competitions is always fun, the best part of rodeo are the friends you meet along the way. She’s been mentored by such pro circuit notables as Sarah Rose MacDonald (barrel racer) and Amberley Snyder (barrel racer and motivational speaker). Miss Hatch hopes to follow in their footsteps and earn her Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) card and enter the pro circuit so she can compete in the National Finals Rodeo, and perhaps one day, the Olympics! In the meantime, she will continue to further her studies towards becoming a Veterinarian, compete in college rodeo and train horses – all endeavors that she excels at.

In order to continue to achieve her goals, Miss Hatch trains at least three times a week in all types of conditions in order to become familiar with the adjustments needed to compete in certain scenarios. This time of training has served her well as she’s traveled across the country to participate in multiple events.

She is a former member of the Las Vegas High School Rodeo team and is currently helping the Boulder City High School Rodeo team as a mentor. She is also a member of Las Vegas Gymkhana Association.

Miss Hatch encourages other young people to become involved in the sport of rodeo. There are many events available and you don’t need a horse or gear to participate. You need a love for animals, a desire to be a positive member of the rodeo family and a willingness to try and learn new skills.

We wish Miss Hatch much success in her bright future as she continues chasing her dreams!

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