story by Jet Toberer Second-generation team roper, Eli Woodyard, of small town Max Meadows, Virginia, has been roping since he was 8 years old, and […]
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Meet the Member Brookelyn Cassley
story by Kyle Eustice
Born in Newark, Ohio, a small suburb of Columbus, 9-year-old Brookelyn Cassley relocated to Franklington, North Carolina four years ago with her mother, Kelli Waller. Kelli’s parents, Denise and JD Chalfant, lived in the area, and she wanted to be closer to them. Throughout all of the changes in her young life, one thing has remained the same—her love of horses. “The first time I got on a horse I was 4,” said Brookelyn. “I’ve loved horses my entire life.”
Brookelyn joined the JSRA earlier this year, where she is focused on barrel racing. It was a natural step for her.
“I like riding horses and barrel racing, and I wanted to take a take it up a notch,” said Brookelyn. “I’ve been barrel racing in all my rodeo events. It’s going pretty good. I like that I get to ride my horse and compete, and see all the different events. It makes me want to learn to rope. It’s also fun to meet a lot of friends.”
Although she also participates in pole bending, she really wants to get into breakaway roping. Her mother says Brookelyn would pretty much “do anything” on a horse.
“Brookelyn is one of those kids that would rather be on a horse or in the barn any day over anything else,” said Kelli. “It came very natural. In the last couple years, she got into barrel racing. The more we get into it, the more she improves every time.”
The fourth grader got her start with Western Pleasure, a local showmanship class. She won the buckle for the first two years and was reserve champion her third year. Now that she’s in the JSRA, she says she “wants to watch her times and get faster.”
There’s a sense, however, Brookelyn wants to be involved in anything having to do with animals, especially when it comes to rodeo. One day, she even hopes to be a veterinarian.
“She mentioned she wants to learn goat tying,” explained Kelli. “She took roping lessons and breakaway lessons. It was too much while she was getting seasoned on the barrels and the poles, so we backed off on the roping for now, but there’s not much she won’t do on a horse [laughs]. She just loves animals in general. She has shown cows at the state fair, but she always comes back to her horses.”
Brookelyn’s favorite horse is Petey, a brown and white paint, who she describes as her “best friend.”
“I like that he’s a good horse and doesn’t buck,” said Brookelyn. “I can do anything I want on him. He knows when I’m ready and knows when I’m not.”