Greenbush native Kally Wojciechowski left the competition arena at MetraPark in Billings, Mont., during the 2020 Wrangler Team Roping Championship and was walking through the tunnel. She had just completed her last run in the All Girls Open finals event on October 1.
She didn’t think she and her finals roping partner Kyane Hampton from Montana had done enough to earn a championship. She didn’t see it as a possibility at that time, considering Jimmi Jo Montera, who, according to Wojciechowski, is the number one girl roper in the world, was coming out for her finals roping run.
Hampton told Wojciechowski to stay there to watch Montera’s run, mentioning how sometimes people see unicorns, referring to the unexpected.
Wojciechowski saw that unicorn. She and her partner would win the All Girl Open event.
“I stayed there (in the tunnel) and just lucked out that her (Montera’s) header (partner) missed and then she missed one, which is absolutely crazy,” Wojciechowski said. “You don’t see that from her ever.”
For her achievements in the All Girl Open event, Wojciechowski earned about $3,300, two buckles, and a trophy saddle. As part of another event she competed in, she also earned a buckle and more money.
The 2020 Wrangler National Team Roping Finals took place September 28 to October 4. Speaking from her home and at Wojo’s Horse Training located in rural Greenbush on October 9, Wojciechowski talked about this experience, still having a hard time believing what had happened back in Billings, specifically that All Girl championship.
“I was just so surprised,” Wojciechowski said. “It (winning the championship) never even hit me until we got home that it actually happened. It was just crazy.”
A 2020 Greenbush-Middle River High School graduate, Wojciechowski has a deep background on a horse and in the rodeo scene.
She and her family run Wojo’s Horse Training and Wojo’s Rodeo and she has participated in rodeos since the age of 12. In rodeoing, she found success in the Wojo’s Rodeo circuit, advancing to the finals of this circuit every year they’ve had it.
She hasn’t traveled much, doing many local roping and barrel racing events. Before her rodeo days, she participated in local game days, having success there too. The biggest event she had participated in, at least before the event in Billings, she explained, was the Sherry Cervi Youth Championships, a barrel racing event held in Minnesota.
“She (Cervi) is a NFR (National Final Rodeo) barrel racer, so that’s kind of a big deal,” Wojciechowski added.
The 2020 year represented the first time she competed in Wrangler team roping events.
“This year I kind of furthered my competing in team roping really,” Wojciechowski said. “Usually I focus on barrel racing.”
To compete at the 2020 Wrangler Team Roping Championship, she just had to participate in one of the qualifying events. After COVID forced the cancellation of all the Wojo Rodeo events this year, she participated in three of these qualifying events, including in Parshall, N.D., Buffalo Gap, N.D. (near Medora), and Jamestown, N.D. She would earn fourth place in Parshall, earning a buckle, and fourth in Jamestown.
She recognized and thanked the many individuals who helped support her to this point. She thanked her parents Keith and Dana Wojciechowski for pushing her to be her best, and her sponsors— Roseau County Coop Association, Greg Hanson Trucking, Burkel Grain, Border Bank, Jessie Graff, and Lynn Hagen— for providing financial support. She thanked her brother Tylor and Max Okke, who works for the Wojciechowski family, for their constant support.
She also recognized the encouragement she received from Kyle Wilson, a family friend who has competed at Wojo’s Rodeo events. She explained how he took the time out of his day to help her at the Team Roping Championship while also competing at the event for the first time.
“He would come up and sit behind me in the box and he told me, ‘Breathe,’ ‘Watch the tip of the steer,’ ‘Do what you know how to do,’” Wojciechowski said. “And if I struggled, he’d come to me after I roped and he’d sit me down and talk about the things that I need to focus on and (to) go back to my basics, do what you already know how to do and we’d rope the dummy in between times that I’d rope.”
Speaking of struggles, that is part of why winning the All Girls Open event meant much to Wojciechowski. She enjoyed team roping and had put much work and effort into it, but had experienced nervous and scared emotions along the way and struggles related to the preparation and competition. All of that added up to a surprising, rewarding, and special moment for her in Billings.
“I’ve put a lot of hard work in roping, and really this is the first time that I’ve really had a big reward from it, from a lot of work put in. So, it really meant a lot to me,” Wojciechowski said. “(It’s) probably one of the most heartfelt awards that I’ve ever won, or events I’ve ever won (and it came) on such a high level, competing against a lot of big names, so it was really awesome.”