story by Ruth Nicolaus Out of about 1,200 students at Loveland (Colo.) High School, Colton Clymer is the only one he knows that competes in […]
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Meet the Member Dalley Gibson
story by Lily Weinacht
For 16-year-old Dalley Gibson from Cheraw, Colorado, becoming the 2016-2017 CSHSRA Queen began not with her crowning in June, but seven years earlier, when she was lobbying for her first horse. “I’d always wanted a horse of my own, and I told my dad I needed one,” she recalls with a laugh. “At the time, we pulled a six-hitch carriage for the Bank of Colorado, but I wanted to barrel race like Fallon Taylor. So one day, he brought home a horse and cheered me on, and it went from there!”
With the help of her parents, Mike and April Gibson, Dalley ran barrels, and two years later, started running for rodeo royalty at the urging of Lacey Bone, whom she calls one of her inspirations. Dalley was the 2011 Washington County Junior Royalty Superintendent, and served as the Arkansas Valley Fair Lady in Waiting before becoming their queen in 2015. She ran against one other queen contestant during the CSHSRA finals, a number which Dalley hopes to change. “In the last few years, the interest in being a high school rodeo queen has gone down so much,” she says. “This year, my goal is to get more girls involved in the competition, and keep it alive. I think there’s a certain stereotype that rodeo queens aren’t the nicest people, but that’s not true. They may be stressed, and brush someone off that they don’t mean to. I want to break the stereotype this year.”
She’s also one of the trailblazers in the arena of rodeo queen clothing, reverting back rather than forward. “A friend and I wear cowboy cuffs and Wild Rag scarves, and we recently went to a rodeo where almost everybody was wearing those. It was the coolest thing ever!” Dalley’s favorite piece in her queen wardrobe – put together by her mom, whom she calls the internet master – is a white shirt with Indian headdresses on it, worn with cowboy cuffs and a necklace or scarf.
Soon after being crowned, Dalley competed in the NHSRA queen contest during the 2016 NHSFR. “It was so much fun,” she says, “and I know I gave it my all. I have the mindset that what you put into it and what you get out of it – like memories and friends – are what really affects you.” She names God, her family, and friends, as her greatest motivators. “You can do absolutely anything you want through Jesus, and it’s amazing that no matter what you do, there’s always someone behind you. My parents and best friend, Lexi, are always telling me I can do it.” Both her older brothers, Ty and Tuff, are equally supportive. Ty serves in the National Guard, and Tuff is a steer wrestler in the CPRA.
Heading into her third season of high school rodeo, Dalley is barrel racing and plans to start breakaway roping. “I love the adrenaline rush right before going in the gate, and the challenge of thinking as fast as your horse is going.” She runs barrels on her newest horse, Fury, and a 23-year-old gelding, Fly, also her queen horse. “He acts like he’s six, and he’s seen so much that he’s the big brother to all the horses at parades and the gate.” Dalley is breakaway roping at home on Jack, while also showing her two goats in 4-H. She’s a nine year member of the Colorado 4-H Program, and is her district’s vice-president, with her best friend, Lexi, serving as president. “We’re in charge of our district’s retreat, and a youth camp, Dare to be You, which helps keep kids interested in 4-H.”
A junior at Crowley County High School, Dalley particularly enjoys science, and will be doing a work study program through school with a chiropractor. “I want to be an equine chiropractor, and my other goals are to improve my breakaway roping and start clicking with my barrel horse. We’re two very different personalities, but she’s a super cool horse and I can’t wait to see how it goes!”