Meet the Member Jace James
story by Lindsay Humphrey At just 11 years old, Jace James has his sights set on redemption at the upcoming AJRA finals. He finished as […]
story by Lily Weinacht
Anna Pickett has grown up competing in the AJRA, joining when she was six and now competing in the 16 – 19 age division. As the first in her family to rodeo, Anna started her career going to playdays with her cousin. “Then we needed something a little harder,” says the 17 year old from San Angelo, Texas. “Rodeo is really different from running track or playing basketball. It’s a year-round thing that takes more time and commitment than other sports, and I think that’s fun.”
She enters the barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, and ribbon roping, while she’ll also run ribbons for the boys. “I’ve always enjoyed breakaway roping,” says Anna, who competes in barrels, poles, and breakaway in the THSRA Region III. “It’s definitely a little bit harder for me than running poles.” Anna has won the barrel saddle twice and the pole saddle three times in the AJRA, and another goal is qualifying for the NHSFR this year.
Anna looks up to her mom, Lisa Chandler, and granddad, Stanley Mayfield, who helped her start rodeoing, along with Chrissy Williams. “She’s helped me out the past few years with my roping horse since he’s kind of young, and I got my barrel and pole horses from her,” says Anna. “If I rope, I’ll go to Chrissy’s house, and our next door neighbor has calves and he’s helped me out a lot. It’s usually just me out practicing, and my mom will come video so I can see what I’m doing.”
Anna has four horses in tow when she goes to AJRA rodeos. “My goat horse is Tex – I’ve had her since I was nine, and I used to do barrels and poles on her, but she got a little old for that. She gets mad if I don’t take her, so I use her for goats. IB Captain Jack is my pole horse, and Beggar is my rope horse. Thunder is my roping horse. We’ve had him since he was a colt, and Chrissy has been training him.” Anna also rode for several years with the San Angelo Ambassadors rodeo drill team, which performs in rodeos around Texas. Her six-year-old sister, Rebekah, comes to watch her rodeos, though her favorite sport is swimming. They also have an older brother, Bill, who is in college. “My dad, Freeman Pickett, runs cattle, and at my mom and step-dad’s house, we have goats and three dogs. One of them is our golden retriever puppy, Bradford. He comes to rodeos with us, otherwise he gets in trouble at home.”
A junior at Wall High School, Anna’s favorite class this year is chemistry. “We get to blow stuff up, so that’s fun,” she says with a laugh. “I used to play basketball and softball, but those got in the way of rodeo, so I’m mostly focusing on track and rodeo. I do long jump and triple jump.” After school, Anna rides horses, weather permitting, and takes care of animals. “Mom feeds in the morning, and I take care of everything else,” she says. “I’m usually unloading hay from my truck or riding, and if I’m not, I like to watch Netflix. I just finished Person of Interest.”
As she enters her 12th season in the AJRA, Anna is looking forward to Hamilton, one of her favorite rodeos. “They have a super nice arena, and they just put in a new roping arena,” she explains. “I want to thank my parents and friends for helping me out, and Charlie Gibson for pushing my calves when my step-dad, Robert Chandler, isn’t able to. I’d like to make it back to state finals again, and making it to Nationals is definitely a goal.”
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