All Shook Up …

8th-Grader, Family Endure Oklahoma Earthquake


Hirschman Photos

This photo ran with’s first feature story of Mallie Williams two years ago. This year Williams experienced the Oklahoma earthquake, prior to her competition on Saturday, Sept. 3, in Cherokee, Okla. In 2015, sixth-grader Mallie Williams hops off her horse in the goat tying competition. Being a true country girl at heart, she has always lived with livestock being a major part of life. “I do enjoy being with my animals and friends.”

One Groom family experienced the 5.8-magnitude Oklahoma earthquake that happened last Saturday morning.

The U.S. Geological Survey upgraded the weekend’s quake from 5.6 to a 5.8-magnitude, making it the strongest earthquake Oklahoma has recorded in the state.  Pawnee, Okla., hosted the epicenter for the event, but it also was felt in other cities, including Cherokee, Okla., where eighth-grader Mallie Williams was preparing to compete.

On Sept. 3, Williams and her second-grade sister, Emily Britten, were headed out to get ready to compete in the Northwestern Oklahoma Junior Rodeo when the first tremor came rolling through the plains.

“It was actually pretty cool once I figured out we were not going to die,” Williams said.

Williams was the only one left in her room searching for the room key when the earthquake began.

“No one knew what was going on,” she said.  “It only happened for a few seconds.”

Despite the event, Williams and Britten went on to compete that day.

“My horse and I have an unbreakable bond,” Williams said.

This year Williams and her horse Jessie got off to a rough start, Jessie got hurt. Williams has overcome obstacles just like that, but she said not even an earthquake will keep her from her ultimate goal. On that Saturday, she competed in barrels, poles  and goat tying.   She took seventh overall, but Williams placed higher in other individual events.

While she was a little shaken at first, Williams said she did not think the earthquake affected her performance, and she intends to keep competing and improving her performances with each rodeo.

“The biggest thing I want to accomplish is going to the NFR finals,” Williams said, – earthquake or no earthquake.