story by Ruth Nicolaus After her first semester of Nebraska Junior High School Rodeo, Charli Coats is loving it. The Juniata, Neb. cowgirl just started […]
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Meet the Member Claire Cooksley
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Claire Cooksley is beginning her final year of competition in the Nebraska Junior High School Rodeo Association.
The fourteen year old cowgirl, who lives six miles north of Anselmo, Neb., competes in the breakaway roping, goat tying, barrel racing, pole bending, and ribbon roping.
Of all her events, goat tying is her favorite, and she rides her favorite horse for it. Annie is an eight year old bay roan who the family acquired about six months ago. Annie and Claire have hit it off, and Claire really likes her. Annie is also her breakaway and barrel racing horse.
For the pole bending, Claire rides a fifteen year old buckskin named Thelma. Thelma is a high energy horse, who “wants to go a lot.” But “she’s a good listener,” Claire says.
Sports are the favorite part of school for the eighth grade student at Anselmo-Merna School student, who plays volleyball and basketball and is also on the honor roll. Her favorite teacher was Mr. Gruzczynski, her fifth grade teacher. He was fun, and he taught science and social studies well. But he did more than that. “There were a lot of life lessons he gave us,” she said, like comparing homework to a future job: completing homework was a good habit, because not completing a task for a boss might result in getting fired.
Claire spent much of her summer helping on the family ranch. She fixed fence, helped gather cattle to vaccinate and brand, and helped in the hayfield. Her job in the hayfield is “go-fer.” If someone needs refueled, she drives the pickup with the fuel tank to the tractor. When she’s not needed, she sits in the pickup and Snapchats or texts. She’s grateful that she gets a good cell signal in the hayfield!
She is a 4-H competitor, showing her horses Annie and Thelma. At the Custer Co. Fair in August, she was reserve champion in the goat tying, third in showmanship, and fifth in barrels, all on Annie. She also was reserve reining champion on her dad’s horse Otis. In the open show, she was second in the barrels and won the working ranch horse award, again on Annie.
When she grows up, she’d like to be a veterinarian. Claire loves animals, especially horses and dogs. The Cooksley family has several barn cats and four dogs: Ginger, a golden retriever, Cy, a black lab, Jose , a border collie, and Diego, a kelpie.
She has two brothers: Ryan, who is a junior in high school, and Colin, who is in fifth grade.
She is the daughter of Ben and Jilleen Cooksley.