If you’re being charged by a bucking bronco, sometimes it’s a matter of diving in the right direction. For Amanda Sinclair, assistant professor of Health, Human Performance and Recreation and a certified athletic trainer at Southeast Missouri State University, being on guard is a big part of her volunteer work at the rodeo.
Sinclair said she was attending graduate school at San Jose State University when she received her first opportunity to observe a “big-time” rodeo.
“At my first rodeo, I had a great time. I thought the atmosphere and the athletes were wonderful,” said Sinclair. “Needless to say, I was hooked! I’ve been working rodeos ever since.”
Sinclair said she worked her first rodeo in 1996 with the Justin Boots Sports Medicine Team. As a current regional volunteer for the team, she has worked at the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo for the past five years. She has also done contract work for health care clinics that cover high school, collegiate and professional rodeo competitions, including eight years at the National High School Finals Rodeo.
“Rodeo can be an intense sport to work sometimes, but it is also fun,” said Sinclair. “I have spent time getting splashed by mud, sand, dust and other stuff.”
Sinclair said she provides care for the rodeo athletes before and after the competition. During each event, she remains close to the gate in order to assist with emergency situations. She said the athletes are very grateful for the assistance she and the other volunteers offer.
“I am amazed at the resilience of rodeo athletes,” said Sinclair. “They get hurt, but they get back on and ride again.”
Rodeos can be exciting, but what Sinclair loves to do most is teach. She said she was born into a family of teachers but never thought she would become one.
“I discovered that what I love most is seeing my students experience athletic training. So, now I teach,” said Sinclair. Sinclair said her first dream of becoming a marine biologist was unfeasible in Colorado, where she attended high school. But, she said, she combined her love of science and sports and got into athletic training.
Sinclair grew up in Las Animas, Colo. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise Physiology and Leisure Science from Adams State College in 1994, a Master of Arts degree in Athletic Training from San Jose State University in 1997 and an Educational Doctoral degree in Applied Behavioral Studies from Oklahoma State in 2001. Sinclair arrived at Southeast in August, 2001, and teaches in the athletic training education program.
“I enjoy coming to work every day, because the people I work with are just a ton of fun,” said Sinclair. “I really enjoy seeing the athletic training students when they come to tell me they have passed their certification examination or that they have landed a job.”
In the classroom Sinclair said she is laid-back, but that she maintains high expectations for her students.
“I believe that I should give students what they are paying for and that I should assist my profession by developing high-quality entry-level employees,” said Sinclair. She said she often uses teaching aids such as play-dough and colored markers to help her students understand important concepts.
“The bottom line is that I want my students to succeed,” said Sinclair.
In her free time, Sinclair said she enjoys sewing, hiking, and road and mountain biking. She is currently learning to quilt, and she enjoys reading mysteries by writers such as Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton, along with children’s books such as Trout Trout Trout.
Sinclair said she has learned many things in her life; most importantly, to never say never. She said that in order to live life to the fullest, learning must become habitual. “Learn to learn for the sake of learning. If you can become a lifelong learner, your mind will be healthy and life will be more enjoyable,” said Sinclair.