story by Lindsay Humphrey Putting a bad run out of your head is a feat every successful rodeo competitor has needed to master to reach […]
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Meet the Member Camree Slavin
story by Lindsay King
Usually a hand-me down horse comes from a sibling, but Camree Slavin got her favorite barrel horse, Wanda, from her mom Kristol. “We have owned Wanda her whole life, 21 years. My mom used to run barrels on her but now I get to. Wanda has a big heart and we have a special bond,” said the 12-year-old. Camree also competes in pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping and ribbon roping, but barrels is by-far her favorite. “My mom ran barrels on Wanda when she was pregnant with me, so I have been on a horse quite literally my entire life.” Ranching has always been a big part of Kristol’s family but Rusty, Camree’s dad, is the rodeo man of the family.
“The biggest influence on my rodeo career is my dad. He pushes me hard, but he is always willing to help. He says that as long as I make a mistake trying he can help me correct it.” Camree gets to compete with her ten-year-old sister, Chaynee. “We are very competitive with each other. When we practice we always make bets against each other, if I have the fastest time then Chaynee has to feed the goats or something like that.” Both girls are taught the value of hard work and that nothing happens overnight. “I have learned a lot about patience in the goat tying. It takes a lot of practice to get an eight second run.”
Making a quick goat run is a lot easier for Camree after having two eye surgeries. “It used to be that when I got tired I could not control one of my eyes. I had a surgery to fix that but about a year later I was seeing double.” Sometimes Camree would see two barrels, two exit gates and even two goats. “Poles were easy to see but getting off to tie a goat was hard. I could see two goats but only one was real.” A few snips to her eye muscles later and Camree can now see perfectly.
Only seeing one barrel helped Camree win the state barrel racing and rookie of the year titles in the OKJHSRA. “I love all of my friends in the association, they make competing a lot more fun. And then the president and vice president are always doing extra things for the competitors. They work hard for both the high school and junior high associations.” Camree’s proudest moment in rodeo was at nationals this year in the barrels. “I remember coming home from third on my second and final run. The ground was super wet, my horse and I were covered in mud. I was proud just knowing that we made two safe runs and they were the best they could be for the ground conditions.” She finished 21st, just shy of the short go.
Camree is in seventh grade at Canadian Middle School where she also plays basketball and is a cheerleader. “Basketball is my favorite, there is less drama. I like playing on a team, but I am also an individualistic person. I like rodeo because I can make all the decisions and I am not responsible for other people’s mistakes.” Kind-hearted teachers make English and technology her favorite classes at school. “I like to learn all the grammar rules much better than I like math or reading.”
Her goal is to make it back to her favorite rodeo of the year: Nationals. “I like that the competitors get to experience so much in one place. I felt like we got to be there for a long time, I spent more than two days with all of my friends.” Some people get to go on vacation once a year, but Camree gets to go just about every weekend. “It is neat that rodeo is just one sport, but it is such a big deal to so many people.”