Kyla Stamps, 15, sums it up pretty good after her release from the hospital last Sunday.
“It’s been a great year and a really terrible year, all in the same boat,” she said.
On the terrible side, just about a week before the family was due to pack up the trailer for the 20-hour haul from their hometown of Harwood, Texas, to Las Vegas, Kyla took a trip to the emergency room. Kyla had been planning to rope in the Las Vegas Stars All-Girl as well as the Junior NFR #10, while her dad, Kyle, was entered up in the Ariat World Series Finale Priefert #14. Kyla had been roping last weekend, getting ready to rope in Las Vegas for the first time, when she started to experience some stomach pain. Focused on her goals, she kept roping until Wednesday, when she couldn’t take it anymore.
“The pain got really bad and my mom took me to the ER when I couldn’t rope anymore,” Kyla explained.
The acute pain was the result of a mass in Kyla’s abdomen, and the possibility of a tumor became very real. Kyla went into surgery that Friday, and, thankfully, the “tumor” was instead a large cyst on the fallopian tubes, and Kyla’s surgery was able to correct the ovarian torsion that had been causing the pain and could have resulted in the loss of the ovary if left untreated.
While elated to be cancer-free, the scare was significant.
“All things considered, we’re doing well,” Kyle stated, while Kyla was recovering from her surgery. “We’re just feeling really blessed that it wasn’t cancer.”
Kyla, a 5 header, was released from the hospital on Sunday, Dec. 2, and was given the go-ahead (barring any complications) to rope in the Junior NFR #10 with heeler Kaleb Macias on Tuesday, Dec. 11. What seemed less likely was the possibility of Kyla recovering in time to compete in the Dec. 9 All-Girl roping. But she did.
Just six days after her release from the hospital, Kyla not only roped in the All Girl, but she won it, turning steers for 6.5-heeler Jimmi Jo Montera, 50, of Greeley, Colorado. The pair headed into the short round guaranteed to win second after pulling their first three steers tight, and had to be a high 18 to win. They managed it in about half that time.
“We came in with a 10-second lead,” Kyla recounted. “I took an extra swing to make sure I caught him. We both just kind of made sure we caught that steer.”
It’s been a tremendous year for the young header and burgeoning heeler who always makes sure to acknowledge the people who support her: Her parents, namely, but also her sponsors—including Republic Ropes, Corriente Saddles, Team Equine, RopeSmart, and Double X Equine—and always her horses. Particularly Fritos, who carried Kyla throughout the season and remains her go-to mount in Vegas, despite recently picking up a new horse, Maui.
“I’m going to take both of them to Vegas,” Kyla explained, “but I’m probably just going to stay on Fritos because, with all my surgeries and everything I’ve had, I think I feel a little bit more comfortable on him just because I’ve had him for so much longer.”
Before her latest win, Kyla’s most recent accomplishment was finishing the 2018 United States Team Roping Championship season with $38,819 and the USTRC Cinch Ladies High Money year-end title, which also earned her a Bob’s Custom Saddle at the Finals in Oklahoma City in October. There, she also took home a Top-10 buckle in the #12 Shoot-Out, as well as a Top-5 buckle in the Junior NFR #10, in which she and Macias took second. The latter made Kyla and Macias No. 2 in the standings and primed for Vegas.
When Kyla’s prospect of roping in the #10 with Macias then became questionable, the 18-year-old, 6.5-heeler had only one concern.
“As long as Kyla was alright,” Macias offered, “it didn’t really matter.”
The two Texans (Macias hails from Floresville) have a long history.
“Our dads grew up together, so whenever she first started roping,” Macias added, “I started roping with her. I’ve been with her since she was a 2 and she’s been with me since I was a 3.”
Back in March, Kyla and Macias had a game-changing win when they took first at the Gonzales, Texas, South Texas Championships, which netted the team a cool $8,990 and help put Kyla at the top of the Ladies leader board—a spot she maintained for the rest of the season, despite multiple classification bumps and partner changes, a June bout with a hospital-worthy allergy, and a broken right hand that again required a trip to the hospital and a subsequent surgery in July that kept Kyla out of the arena until Labor Day.
Still, Kyla kept her eyes on the prize and, so far, she’s exceeding even her own expectations, having won the All Girl in which she didn’t even anticipate being able to compete.
“I didn’t think I was going to go, but my stomach was feeling really good and I wasn’t sore or anything,” Kyla said of her rapid recovery, “so I talked my dad into letting me rope and I’m pretty happy I did.”
On the same day, Kyle—who, according to Kyla, fielded an “I told you so” call shortly following her win—managed to heel himself into the No. 4 spot in the WSTR Finale’s Priefert #14, adding $36,500 to the family’s Las Vegas winnings as Kyla prepares for the #10.
“I asked her how she felt,” Macias said, “and she said she was ready, so I’m feeling that we can probably win this.”
“I’ve got a really good feeling about it. I’m hoping that it goes the way I’m feeling.”
To see if the Stamps’ Las Vegas reign continues, head to the South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center for the Junior NFR Team Roping beginning Tuesday, Dec. 11. If nothing else, it’ll be worth witnessing Kyla pursue her one remaining goal of 2018.
Junior NFR Team Roping Schedule
Las Vegas Convention Center, South Halls
3150 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Tuesday, Dec. 11
1:45 p.m. — 17 & Under #10
Wednesday, Dec. 12
12:30 p.m. — 17 & Under #10
Thursday, Dec. 13
12:30 p.m. —17 & Under Open and 17 & Under Final #10
2:00 p.m. — Junior NFR Buckle Ceremony Total Team Roping (17 & Under #10)
Friday, Dec. 14
12:30 p.m. — 17 & Under Open
Saturday, Dec. 15
1:00 p.m. — 17 & Under Open / Junior NFR Final