READY TO RIDE: KHS students hoof it in rodeo competitions

Peighton Farmer, Staff writer

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The moment before going down the alleyway, junior Savanna Barnard’s heart starts racing. Her fingers start to tingle and her horse is jittery and jumpy. Waiting for the announcer to call her name, it feels like the wait of a lifetime. Her name sounds over the speakers, and it’s

“go time.” She leads her horse down the alleyway slowly. When she hits the end, she kicks her horse, Logan, up and heads for the first barrel.


Savanna Barnard on her horse.

As Barnard sets up her pocket (rodeo language for estimating the space for approaching a turn around the barrel) at the first and kicks her horse around it, she looks at the second barrel. She kicks Logan out to the second and sets up her pocket to turn again. When pushing her horse around the second, she’s looking at the third. While kicking to the third, she sets up her pocket one last time. When reaching the third, she pulls and kicks her horse all the way around it and heads home, kicking and whipping until timer stops.

Barnard is one of several KHS students who compete in rodeo associations, some even traveling all over the state and surrounding states to rope, ride, and even goat tie. Rodeo isn’t something that is normally talked about by students in school environments, but is popular with some students.

 “Rodeo is the best sport. It combines my love of animals with the adrenaline rush of a lifetime,” Bernard says. “I don’t compete to beat anyone else (don’t get me wrong winning is nice) but I only work to beat the rider I was yesterday. You don’t see the crowd, or hear the people screaming, you’re focus is between that horses ears. You kick up dust and run through the gate. After the timer stops and you pat your horse on the neck, there’s nothing better than that moment.”


Hanson Murrah at work roping.

Some other events in rodeo are team roping, tie down roping, bronc riding, goat tying, and many more. Team roping is the only event in rodeo that involves two people and involved the header, who is on the left side of the steer, roping the horns. On the right side of the steer is the heeler, who ropes the feet of the steer. When the steer comes out of the chute, the header ropes the horns or the neck of the steer and starts turning to the left. When the steer gets turned, the heeler comes in and ropes the feet. Penalties can be assessed for various infractions such as roping only one leg.

“Roping is nothing like any other sport,”  says Hanson Murrah. “The joy that comes from catching is such an unexplainable feeling.”

There are many different rodeo associations in Texas such as Lonestar High School Rodeo Association (LSHSRA), Texas High School Rodeo Association (THSRA), Winners Youth Rodeo Association (WYRA), and many more.

For many, rodeo keeps alive the tradition and history of America’s Old West. It brings joy and a sense of life to many students and people all around the country. Some say competing in rodeo has made them the person they are today.

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1 Comment

One Response to “READY TO RIDE: KHS students hoof it in rodeo competitions”

  1. Coach Watts on February 12th, 2015 4:43 pm

    Great article Peighton! But, remember Steer Wrestling is also an event in rodeo that involves two people. However, there is only one competitor in that event.

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READY TO RIDE: KHS students hoof it in rodeo competitions