Meet the Member Magdalena Lujan
story by Lindsay Humphrey Before Magdalena Lujan was ever born, she already had her first horse. She was destined to love horses from the very […]
story by Lindsay Whelchel
Avery Gonzales has grown up in the sport of rodeo, but that growth isn’t just in terms of years for the 18-year-old New Mexico High School Rodeo Association senior. The growth Avery has experienced because of rodeo goes much deeper than that.
“I’ve learned so much, not just about working hard or doing things that truly put so much passion in you, but I’ve learned so much about my goals in life,” Avery says. She has spent this past year looking at colleges and has signed with South Plains College in Texas where she is interested in cultural studies and will compete on the rodeo team. A draw for the school for Avery is how much she loves the coaches there, she says.
Already, Avery’s high school rodeo years have been successful. She is a five-time national qualifier, all three years in junior high and twice in high school. She won state last year and ended up third in the average at the National High School Finals.
Avery works evenly at all three of her events, team roping, breakaway and goat tying. She’s never been drawn to running barrels. “With running barrels it’s a lot of repeat motion, with roping and tying goats it’s a lot of reaction. Not that it’s any easier running barrels. I like to push myself, and I think that those three events really bring that out in you, plus it’s just so much fun,” she says.
It’s perhaps no surprise Avery is as handy with a rope as she is. Her dad Tim is a PRCA heeler who has won the Turquoise Circuit multiple times.
“He taught me everything I know. He sacrificed so much to be able to take me and train on me. He’s not just my dad, he’s my coach, and we’ve got such a strong relationship through rodeo.” She also has a support system in her mom Lisha and her three siblings. Beyond family time, Avery spends a lot of her time volunteering at a medical clinic and being really active in her church.
Avery explains that her priorities in this last part of high school rodeo have gone toward focusing on gratitude.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity and thankful to have such a good relationship with my horses, and it brings me and my family so much closer together. They are my biggest supporters. So that’s what I’ve learned from [rodeo], know what to be thankful for and when to be thankful for it.”
Rodeo has impacted so much of Avery’s life and maturation.
“This sport has brought me so much closer to God. I’ve learned that my greatest achievement isn’t what I do in the arena but how you carry yourself whether you win or lose. It’s character that makes you who you are.”
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