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Dec. 12, 2018

Rodeo experience, coursework helped shape Jaycox’s career goals

By Grace Niemeyer, communication assistant


Michaela Jaycox plans to combine her bachelor’s degree in communication and its emphasis in public relations with her interests in horses and the rodeo. (above photo by Northwest Missouri State University; lower photo courtesy of Michaela Jaycox)

Michaela Jaycox plans to combine her bachelor’s degree in communication and its emphasis in public relations with her interests in horses and the rodeo. (above photo by Northwest Missouri State University; lower photo courtesy of Michaela Jaycox)

Michaela Jaycox is a lifelong rodeo athlete, and her experience at Northwest Missouri State University allowed her to combine her interests of communication and agriculture.

Jaycox, a Spickard, Missouri, native who graduates this month with a bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis in public relations, began barrel racing when she was 10 years old.

“My cousins were really competitive in it and I always looked up to them when I was younger, so that’s why I decided to get into barrel racing,” Jaycox, who competes almost every weekend in regional and national shows and rodeos, said.

As a Northwest student, she completed internships with The Business Times Company, contributing to a magazine in Columbia, Missouri; Carnival of Cans, doing barrel race event planning; Riata Leather in marketing; and RFDTV social media for The American Rodeo.

Northwest helped shape her passion for horses and rodeo into a professional career.

“Taking different classes helped me decide what I want to do with my professional career and being able to find avenues to combine my professional career with my hobby,” Jaycox said. “Northwest has definitely done a good job with that.”

She appreciates the support she has received from faculty such as Dr. John Katsion.

“Instead of doing homework and doing the normal social life of a college student on the weekends, she is out pursuing her dream of getting into rodeo, which requires a high level of work, organization and commitment,” Katsion, an associate professor of communication, said. “Simply put, Michaela is an impressive young woman who has dreams and is not letting anything get in her way of pursuing them.”

Jaycox’s experience as a business owner also sparked her interest in marketing. As a high school freshman, Jaycox began buying and training horses to barrel race and later sold them. Her passion for horses and rodeo made pursuing a degree in public relations an obvious choice.

Jaycox transferred to Northwest after earning an associate degree in public relations, advertising and applied communication.

“I wanted to continue my education to get my bachelor’s in public relations,” Jaycox said. “My transfer was easy, thanks to the partnership with Northwest and North Central Missouri College.”

Northwest’s Ed Phillips Rodeo Arena sealed the deal for Jaycox. Having a place to board her horse while taking classes and competing in rodeos on the weekends was an important factor to selecting a university.

She spends about four hours each day at the arena riding and tending to her 9-year-old horse, DD. The duo has won multiple shows and hopes to qualify to compete in The American, which calls itself the “world’s richest one-day rodeo.”

“I have received instruction from incredible professors who are truly here to help us succeed,” Jaycox said. “Having professors who are dedicated to the success of the students has helped to prepare me for my future career. The professors have gone out of their way to assist in finding internships, make sure I’m on track to graduate, and to help me find a way to combine my passion and career.”


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468