ITD's Kacie McDonald and her Quarter horse
help spark the crowd at each BSU home football game
Kacie McDonald hoped to give her horse Kade a pretty good workout in the arena last weekend. But it wasn't your typical equestrian event in front of judges and an equine-savvy audience or rodeo fans.
The crowd included some 30,000 fans whose focus on football was interrupted every time the Boise State Broncos scored a touchdown or field goal in their non-conference match up with Miami University of Ohio.
The more the Broncos score, the harder the workout for Kacie and Kade, a 12-year-old registered Quarter horse. Together they lead the Broncos onto the football field before each home game and circle the track after each score. The black gelding didn’t have much of a chance to break a sweat in his first outing of the year when BSU beat the University of Oregon 19-8.
That changed Saturday when the tandem ushered the Broncos into the stadium and then encircled the fabled blue turf seven times following touchdowns in BSU’s 48-0 nonconference shutout of the Red Hawks.
McDonald, who joined ITD as a financial specialist in January, officially represents the BSU rodeo team at home football games. The native of Elgin, Ore., graduated from BSU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2007 and is preparing to return for an MBA.
She is a non-competing member of the rodeo team and rides with the Snake River Stampede’s Night Light Drill Team, also known as Ghost Riders.
Last year she helped manage horse and rider during the pre-game run from the tunnel. When her predecessor announced her retirement as the Bronco rider, Kacie volunteered to step in this year. She had a few opportunities to introduce her horse to the boisterous BSU crowd last year and practiced a few times before this season to make sure Kade could handle the festivities.
In the season opener against Oregon, generally considered the most significant home game in school history, the festivities included fireworks, smoke, a booming cannon, the BSU band and a record crowd of more than 33,000.
The black gelding, which measures nearly 16 hands (64 inches) at the withers, is ideally suited to the atmosphere, her rider explains.
“The environment is incredible… just electric,” explains McDonald. “There’s just so much energy. It takes a horse with the right mind and a mellow disposition. Kade is the perfect horse. He’s not bothered much by the noise or crowd.
McDonald, 25, and her horse arrive about five hours before each home game to allow time for for parking, unloading and dressing. Early arrival also gives her time to join in tailgate activities. For Kade, the perfect tailgate is on the back of a pickup; hay and grain are suitable replacements for hamburgers and hotdogs.
Both horse and rider are appropriately clad in blue and orange. Kacie carries the BSU flag and helps add a charge to the electricity of celebration.
Although she is a native of Oregon (born in La Grande and reared in Elgin), Kacie wasn’t emotionally torn when the Oregon Ducks challenged BSU Sept. 3. She attended Oregon State University (the Duck’s intrastate rival) and is comfortable cheering for Oregon’s opponent.
McDonald’s history with horses and rodeo began at about age 6 when she started competing in barrel racing and pole bending. She was a member of the Elgin High School rodeo team and was queen of both the Elgin Stampede and Catherine Creek Rodeo (Union, Ore.)
She leaves two other horses behind when she heads to Bronco stadium: Jazz is a 10-year-old buckskin, and Cricket a 22-year-old mare that has been her companion since childhood.