You could say Kyra Block is living the dream.
The 20-year-old from Estevan is pursuing her goal of becoming a professional barrel racer on the rodeo circuit - one obstacle at a time.
Block competed in last week's Canadian Cowboys' Association rodeo stop in the Energy City. Although she didn't fare quite as well as she would have liked in front of her hometown faithful, Block was happy to get to compete in front of some familiar faces, and is enjoying the ride, so to speak.
"My horse kind of stumbled twice in the arena, so she finished half a second off the top, but she stumbled, so she didn't go anywhere," Block said. "It was quite disappointing, but I won't give up, I'm going to keep on going, there's always a bump in the road."
"At the CCA rodeo you're seeing some top girls, even pro girls. It's just awesome to be in front of people that know you, and who you've grown up in front of. They can see your accomplishments as you grow up. I've had a lot of people say they've seen me come a long way."
That same passion and dedication to the sport has paid off for Block, who spent the last two years barrel racing and studying criminal justice in Casper, Wyoming on a rodeo scholarship.
"My dad was talking to our neighbor, and got some information on this one rodeo coach (Tom Parker), then my dad called him up and he offered me a scholarship right there on the spot," Block recalled. "He looked at a video of mine, and looked at the standings of where I was sitting in the high school rodeo association. He kind of just went from there, and then he drove down here and we met him."
Block has made the most of the opportunity that the Casper College rodeo coach has given her. Not only has she been successful in her beloved sport in Wyoming, her grades have been stellar as well. Block received her associate degree in criminal justice this past school year, graduating with honours.
The academic success has brought further rewards for Block, who was recently offered another scholarship to ride in Great Falls, Montana starting in the next school year. In Montana, Block plans to further pursue criminal justice, as well as her passion for rodeo. The 20-year-old from Estevan was also welcomed into Phi Theta Kappa, a sorority for students with high grade point averages.
"There's nothing more rewarding than getting a scholarship like that. Not just for rodeo, but even academically," Block said. "To get some of my schooling paid off in order to get a better career - there's nothing more rewarding than that."
Now, when Block returns to Estevan to ride - which she's done the past three years - she feels like she can be a role model to the kids just coming up through the rodeo ranks.
"I do feel like a role model and I really hope some would follow in my footsteps and choose to go down to the States for college rodeo, because it really has been an awesome experience. It's taught me to be independent and to work hard for what I want, and that dreams really do come true. I believe I really am one step closer to that little dream you have when you're five years old of being a professional barrel racer," Block said.
"Whether it's my grades or if it's dedication. I would have never gotten there if I didn't work hard and keep my grades up."