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Student Spotlight: Skylar Purkiss

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

By: Giselle Robles

Skylar and her horse, Copper.

The line up begins and she is eager to hear the announcer say, “Copper and Skylar Purkiss”. Her world becomes quiet, and she is ready to give it her all in the arena.


Before the competition she is getting all dolled up with sparkly themed outfits, a bountiful amount of bobby pins for a stunning hairstyle, makeup, and heads into the arena. At that moment she and Copper become united, and she is ready to go.


Skylar Purkiss is a junior at MMACHS, but she also holds the crown for Gem/County Jr. Rodeo Queen. She was born in Thousand Oaks, California. Her love for horses started at four years old when her family moved to the Treasure Valley. Her next-door neighbor, Samantha Mason, became the ultimate inspiration for her future. She became her mentor, who she calls her “horse mom”. Samantha would provide all the resources to Purkiss so she could dive into her love for horses, and eventually coach her.

With the desire to go into veterinary health care, she was driven so heavily to do what she loves. Rodeo life has become a lifestyle for Purkiss. She finds a passion in being in the arena. She is accompanied by her best pal of four years, Copper. Cooper is a Roan Quarter horse, and they run the fastest quester mile. Copper is her horse who she spends an abundance of time with.


Three days a week, she cares for and trains with Copper for about two hours. She dedicates a lot of her time to her training for rodeo competitions. With this comes a lot of balance. School is hectic, but she finds peace when she is riding.


Skylar is rewarded whenever she sees the beaming smiles of her crowd.


“All the hard work put into being a rodeo queen is worth all the smiles and laughter coming from the children in the crowd”, she passionately spoke.


As a rodeo queen, you need to always portray a smile. For Purkiss, this is no difficult task. She is radiant with the simple thought of rodeo life.


Rodeo not only provides her with joy, but it also provided her with a chosen family. She doesn’t have any blood family in rodeo, so for her to feel so connected with her crew is wonderful. As a crew, you share many vulnerable and empowering moments together.


Skylar, speaking about her crew noted how close they become. “Rodeo gave me a family… You share blood, sweat, tears, and laughter through the triumph and defeat.”


It is clear to understand the powerful bond her and her rodeo family have.


MMACHS has also played a heavy role in her rodeo life as well. Purkiss says her most difficult task in rodeo is patience. Now being at MMACHS, she is being taught to become more patient, and overall motivated, even in high stress situations. When in the arena, there can be rowdy people in the crowds shouting unnecessary things. Purkiss strives to ignore and continues with her goal of success.


MMACHS teacher, Blake Gaudet sees this in the classroom, “Skylar always has a very calming presence, takes challenges in stride. It doesn’t surprise me that she excels in the rodeo world as well.”


Her overall dream is to motivate the children watching her to follow their own dreams. She hopes to influence them by making a difference in their communities. Skylar Purkiss wears her crown with pride and a big smile!

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