With a hot cup of coffee between her hands and the clanging of a coffee shop in the background, Katy tells me about her life. She struggles to find what she considers to be a significant event or point in her life that she deems important enough to write about. She comes up short, there is no one significant event or point. We meet up again a few days later, and after several hours of sitting and chatting with Katy, I have found that there is not one significant event worth writing about. She is the significant thing worth writing about.
Katy Hart was born on December 22, 1991 in Big Rapids, Michigan to, then single mother to 8 and 18 year old daughters, Susan Hart. Susan had been separated from her husband for seven years and was in the process of completing the divorce when she became pregnant with Katy. Unfortunately Katy’s parents weren’t able to work out their relationship and so Susan became the single mother of three girls. Katy’s two sisters, Tiffany, 40, and Donielle, 30, were like two extra moms grown up, and Tiffany had a daughter in 1997. Being the baby in the family and also shouldering the role of aunt was difficult for her. The sibling rivalry that would have existed between her and her sisters, had they been closer in age, took hold between her and her niece. The additional challenge to this relationship was that Katy’s mother expected her to also behave as an aunt and therefore be the bigger person. Much fighting took place as the aunt and niece tried to find their places in each other’s lives as well as in their family. Katy’s family hails from Michigan originally. Her mother moved her and her sisters between Oklahoma and Michigan several times throughout her childhood finally settling in Okeene, Oklahoma to be closer to Katy’s sister, Tiffany, and her sister’s children.
Rodeo is a large and important part of her family’s life, and Katy developed a passion for it early on. In 1955, the year her mother was born, Katy’s grandfather opened Buckin E. Rodeo Company, a traveling rodeo. The rodeo would travel all along the north east, going up in open fields like a circus ring, and the entire family would help out and get involved. Katy had her own jobs to do even at a young age. She worked back stage and helped set up when they would reach a new stop. When she got old enough, around the age of 7, she started to compete in the junior rodeo. She participated in events such as barrel racing, poll bending, and goat tying. In 2001, Katy was bucket by a horse and fell. Though she wasn’t hurt, she still developed a fear of riding that lasted for five years. During those years she still helped the family business by selling spinning ropes and t-shirts to audience members in the stands. It was then that she realized that she was good at selling things; it came naturally to her. In 2006 Katy finally decided to put her fears aside after feeding a rodeo bull and get back on the horse. The first year she back she won two saddles and two buckles despite the 5 year lapse. She also competed in rodeo pageants and sold tickets for them as part of the pageant participation.
In high school Katy participated in a rodeo club on the weekends. She shared her cousin’s horses since they went to some of the same rodeos. She graduated in 2011 from Okeen High School. After graduation she moved to Alva, Oklahoma to attend Northwestern Oklahoma State University, which is a rodeo college. NWOSU has one of the largest college rodeo teams in the state with 120 member, or which 70 compete. She was not able to continue using her cousin’s horses since she was now an hour away from her family and her cousin’s high school rodeos were on the same weekends as her college rodeos. Fortunately, a friend with whom Katy had competed with for years let her use her horses, though it did cause some conflict if Katy had better times or if the horses did better for her in a competition. Aside from rodeo, NWOSU was not providing her the fulfilling academic experience she was craving. With the school going through a staffing changes and teachers she had worked with for two years leaving, she was left with teachers that didn’t teach their subjects well. She was ready to excel past what the school was able to provide.
Katy was dating her current boyfriend, Thomas Foster, who had moved to Russellville to live with his family and is from Russellville. They broke up briefly after his initial move, but reconciled after just a few months. He asked her to move to Russellville also. There were a few factors that helped her make the brave decision to move. First, her family had moved to Alva shortly after she had but then moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma and were now three hours away from her. Russellville is also a three hour drive from Stillwater. Second, her school was failing to meet her needs academically and she wanted to find a better college. And, thirdly, her boyfriend had already moved. These three things made her decision easy. The main down side to moving for her is having to make up the hours that didn’t transfer from NWOSU. She is a junior but this is her fourth year in college. Though it is scary to move somewhere when you don’t hardly know anyone is scary. Moving was a brave decision, and one that will hopefully better Katy’s life and help her reach her goals.
No, there is not just one defining moment or event that is significant about Katy Hart. She is significant. By learning from her life experiences and struggles and refusing to be held back, she has enabled herself to think with a level head and make good choices while looking at the bigger picture. I know that Katy will reach her potential in her degree in public relations. She deserves to do well.