story by Lily Weinacht Wes Bray clinched his goal for his final season of high school rodeo, finishing in the top 20 in the nation […]
Association MemberJoin Rodeo News
Meet the Member Alexis Manley
story by Lily Weinacht
Alexis Manley of Laramie, Wyoming, is sitting first in goat tying and second in breakaway roping—her two favorite events—while she’s third in the all-around standings. The 18-year-old cowgirl has made it to state every year since she joined the WHSRA as a freshman, and she wants to cap off her senior year with a qualification to the NHSFR. “I just love my horses and I love the people in rodeo. I just think it’s fun and it’s rewarding,” says Alexis. She started out in the NLBRA and WJRA, placing high in the NLBRA world standings in breakaway roping and goat tying, and winning the state all-around and rookie of the year titles in the WJHSRA.
She continues to compete in goats and breakaway, along with barrel racing and team roping as a header with her friend Kyle Dory. Kyle beat cancer and is returning to rodeo competition this season. “We’ve been friends since our freshman year—we had class together,” says Alexis. She enjoys the teamwork of team roping, but says goat tying and breakaway roping are consistently her best events. “They’re my favorite because you’ve really got to work hard at them and stay in shape.” Alexis also spends time on her mental game, and recently went to a Paul Tierney clinic held in her hometown. “He’s very inspiring and a very good breakaway roper. I feel like every time I go to one of his clinics, I get better every time. He said that no matter what anything throws at you, take what you’ve got and keep going with it.”
Alexis can practice right outside her back door, her parents, Don and Amy Manley, helping run chutes. She’s an only child, but Alexis calls her cousin Stephen Manley, whom she grew up with, as close as a brother. He comes to watch her high school rodeos that are close by. Alexis’s hometown rodeo in Laramie is her favorite. “I really like it because we’re the only (high school) rodeo that has a Saturday night performance. It’s always super cool—we have an announcer and a big crowd.”
All of Alexis’s horses are ones that she finished. Red, her barrel and team roping horse, stands at least 16.2 hands high. He came to the Manleys from Michigan, while they raised Shelby, Alexis’s breakaway horse. “She’s been around, and she’s a sweetheart. My goat horse is named Cruze, and he’s full of himself but he gets it done. He was a heel horse and I turned him into a goat horse.” Alexis’s border collie puppy is the latest addition to the family, named Willow for the W shape on her side.
While rodeo is now her sole focus, Alexis played basketball her first three years of high school, including the varsity team her sophomore and junior year. She’s a member of the National Honor Society, and graduates from Laramie High School in May. Much of her semester has been spent looking at colleges—she’d like to rodeo in the Central Rocky Mountain Region and plans on studying kinesiology. One of her favorite high school classes is equine science, but she wants to become a chiropractor.
In her very spare time, Alexis enjoys skiing in the winter at Steamboat or the Snowy Range Ski Area when her uncle visits from Iowa. She also likes roping with her dad, who rode bulls for a while before moving on to roping. He also worked on a dude ranch, where Alexis started riding horses. “I want to take home a state title, and I want to make it to Nationals this year,” Alexis finishes. “I’ve gone into state in the top four every single year and not done well, and I don’t want that to be the case this year. I’d like to take advantage of the standings this year and get it done.”