story by Ruth Nicolaus Sean Arellano loves riding bulls. When he started his Colorado Junior High School Rodeo Association competition a year ago, he said, […]
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Meet the Member Elaine Cannon
story by Lily Weinacht
Elaine Cannon leapt into the rodeo world when she was six, and today, the 14-year-old from Delta, Colorado, is the CJHSRA Breakaway Roping Champion. She went into state finals knowing she had to catch all three of her calves to stay in the average, and she did just that. Elaine also finished in the top six of all her other events, including barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, and ribbon roping with David Jones. “My favorite is probably breakaway roping,” she says. “I just like how it has to be fast, and I like the challenge.” During her first time competing at the NJHFR, Elaine caught one of her calves, and she also enjoyed going to all the dances, going to a goat roping, and attending a calf roping clinic. “It was a pretty big experience!”
Rodeo started in Elaine’s family with her dad, Dustin, who fought bulls and continues to team rope, and her step-mom, Ryan, who high school rodeoed and continues to compete in barrel racing. Elaine’s 13-year-old brother, Connor, also competes in the CJHSRA in goat tying, saddle bronc steer riding, and breakaway and team roping. He runs the roping chute for Elaine during practice, and their step-mom holds goats. “I want to thank my dad and step-mom for all the support they give to me and my brother. Besides my family, I look up to Jody and Jesse Sheffield,” says Elaine. “I go ride with them almost every day, and Jody helps me with barrels and poles and Jesse helps me with my roping.” Elaine would also love to spend a day with Sherry Cervi so they could talk about barrel racing and how to mentally prepare.
Elaine competes on two mares in her events, and both are named Lily, though one is a palomino and the other is a sorrel. “They had those names when I got them – it’s pretty cool!” says Elaine. “I say red Lily or yellow Lily to keep them straight. We have three dogs and four cats and four goats, and all three dogs go to rodeos with us. We have a border collie, a mini Aussie, and a Brussels Griffon/Chihuahua mix.”
Elaine will be a freshman this fall at Vision Charter Academy. “I’m pretty excited – I think it’s going to be an eye-opener,” she says. “Math is my favorite, probably doing equations, and I do gymnastics during the school year. Gymnastics keeps me strong, so it helps with my upper body strength and my arms, and that helps me with rodeo.” Before school starts, Elaine is using the rest of her summer break to go to rodeos and ropings, along with starting in the CSHSRA at the end of August. She competes in several junior rodeos during the summer, including Delta County Junior Rodeos, Colburn Lions Club Junior Rodeos, and Norwood Roping Club Junior Rodeos. When she’s not on horseback, Elaine loves to rope the dummy with her family or go shooting or fishing on the Grand Mesa.
She never leaves for a rodeo without baby powder and beeswax for her rope and piggin’ string, which she faithfully re-powders or waxes after every rodeo. “I’m working on getting my rope out of my hand a little faster than I do now, and in barrels, I need to focus on riding correctly because my horse is a little different than most I’ve ridden. You don’t have to use your hands a lot with her, but you have to bump her and really use your words. I would like to make it to Nationals my freshman year, and I would like to make it all four years in more than one event.”