Photo courtesy of the Carl family
The Carl family poses with their horses. Pictured, from left to right, are Zaden, Zack and Marissa, Zajayda, Zayne, Zayden and Paizley.

Based in Bosque Farms, the Carl family, led by Zack and Marissa, are the second and third generation of rodeo in their family.

Zack and Marissa have been involved in rodeo and caring for horses their entire lives, and now have passed the love down on to their four children, Zajayda, 15, Zaden, 13,  Zayne, 12 and Paizley, 7.

Both Marissa and Zack’s families were involved in the horse industry while they were growing up, which helped them to get involved in rodeo early on.

“Zack and I both grew up rodeoing,” Marissa said. “We always told the kids when they were young that we would support whatever sports they wanted to try and they kept coming back to the rodeo lifestyle.”

In addition to being involved with rodeo, Marissa is also in her first year as a 4-H leader for the Bosque Farms club under the Valencia County 4-H umbrella. She and her husband both grew up involved with 4-H, so she jumped at the opportunity to take on a leadership role when the opportunity presented itself.

Photo courtesy of the Carl family
Zajayda Carl competes in an event in early 2021.

“(Zack and I) enjoyed the memories and the friendships we made,” Marissa said. “When Zajayda, our oldest, was old enough she expressed interest and I was secretly thrilled she wanted to join. Our club is a small group and, when our leader stepped down, I was happy to fill the spot. This is my first year as a leader and I’m stoked to grow the club.”

4-H is open to children between the ages of 9-19 with enrollment running from October to January each year through the Valencia County NMSU Extension Service.

Zack has also held a leadership position within 4-H, serving as the vice president of the 2020 New Mexico 4-H Rodeo Board, which helps organize and sanctions rodeos across the state, including one in Valencia County in addition to maintaining the 4-H rodeo rule book and when necessary, updating the organization’s bylaws.

4-H rodeo also helps students with college, giving out three rodeo scholarships to students across the state each year.

Zayne, the Carl’s third child, achieved a big milestone in his rodeo endeavors in late June when the 12 year old competed at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Des Moines, Iowa. The six-day event brings in children in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades from all over the United States and Mexico to one place to compete against each other in 13 different events.

Zayne qualified for the finals in two different events — team roping and breakaway.

“Zayne grew up with a rope in his hand and his hat pushed down with his ears folded over,” Marissa said. “He roped everything in sight. All the kids eventually had different times when they only wanted to rodeo. Zayne has always had the rodeo bug and would rather be outside roping than inside.”

Carl competed twice at the NJHFR in breakaway, earning finishes of seventh and 12th, respectively.

“We are so proud of Zayne and all he has accomplished,” Marissa said.

Seeing their children follow in their footsteps has been exciting for Marissa and Zack, who are enjoying getting to share their passion with their children for as long as that interest lasts.

“When the kids fell in love with the rodeo scene, Zack and I were excited,” Marissa said. “It doesn’t matter what they want to do in life and if they grow out of it we will always continue to support them.”

Photo courtesy of the Carl family
Zaden and Zayne Carl are pictured on horseback before competing at a rodeo competition.

Horses have always been the jumping-off point for the Carls into rodeo and 4-H, and have kept them coming back.

“The horses have always been in our lives, and I couldn’t imagine not having them in our life,” Marissa said. “Zack and I don’t get to compete as much as we used to because the kids have taken over our horses but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Most of all, Marissa is proud of the work and passion her children put into rodeo and the way they are constantly striving to get better every day while caring for the animals they work with.

“The kids have always worked hard to be where they are. They are some of the hardest-working kids that I know,” she said. “They are up bright and early, taking care of their animals and riding horses. They practice every single day, wanting to be better than what they were the day before.”

Marissa also loves seeing the way the children support each other as they each pursue their interests and the way they are brought together by being involved in rodeo and caring for horses.

“They are always supporting one another and it brings us so much joy to see them loving what they are doing,” she said.

Photo courtesy of the Carl family

Zaden Carl poses after receiving a belt buckle from Miss Rodeo New Mexico.

Photo courtesy of the Carl family

Zayne Carl poses on horseback.

Photo courtesy of the Carl family

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Cameron Goeldner grew up in Boulder, Colo., and attended the University of New Mexico. He covers everything sports for all Valencia County schools.