story by Lily Landreth Jaytyn Hash took home his first NLBRA world title at the 2019 NLBFR last summer in the team roping, a victory […]
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Meet the Member Gentry Silver
story by Lily Weinacht
Sunrise is approximately 6:15 AM on a July morning in Iowa, La., but Gentry Silver often beats the sun out of bed, throwing hay to his horses so they’re ready to practice while the day is young. For nine-year-old Gentry, this routine and rodeoing in the NLBRA has been a constant during the unpredictable aspects of life. Born with a cleft pallet and lip, he’s had at least one surgery a year since he was six weeks old. The most significant of these took place last May, after which he couldn’t talk or eat anything other than liquids for eight weeks. Yet he still qualified for the 2015 NLBFR in his events of flag racing and goat tying, and continues to hold fast to his belief that, though he may have difficulties, there are always children and adults with worse difficulties that can’t be fixed. “He’s told us that ever since he could talk,” say Randy and Julie Silver, Gentry’s parents.
A member of both the Cajun Little Britches and Louisiana Little Britches franchises, Gentry is competing in the NLBFR in flag racing and goat tying in the Little Wrangler division. He’s qualified for the finals every year since joining when he was five, but this year is especially significant. “Last year, Gentry got to the point where he was falling off and didn’t want to ride, and we found out in December that both of his eardrums had collapsed and he had no equilibrium,” says Julie. “He had surgery in April, and he’s a whole new kid. He only missed two weeks of rodeo, but the hardest part for him has been teaching himself to ride again with his balance back. He’d taught his mind and body how to ride without it.”
An area Gentry excels in is the breakaway roping, which he’ll start entering in the NLBRA this fall as a junior boy. He won the event in the Silver Spur Rodeo Club last year and is leading the breakaway roping again this year. “Gentry’s been roping since he was six, but he’s waited a long time to breakaway in Little Britches. We keep calves and we have an arena at the house, so he stakes out his own goats and ties them every day, even if it’s raining. He also ties goats once a week at Stacey Martin’s house with 30 junior high and high school kids,” Julie explains.
Even with the flooding affecting southwest Louisiana, Gentry is able to practice daily at friends’ arenas. He looks up to Cyle Denison and his mom, Carmen, who help him with flags and roping, while Gentry practices twice a week with fellow Little Britches member Austin James, and his cousin, Hadleigh. “I also have a brother, Riggin, but he doesn’t like to rodeo,” says Gentry. “He’s five and he likes playing in the mud, but sometimes I lead him around on my horse, Scout.” Scout is originally from Texas, coming home with the Silvers after the 2015 NLBFR. Gentry also shows goats and Brahmans in 4-H, and plays basketball with the Little Dribblers in the spring. He’ll be a fourth grader at Bell City High School, where he enjoys math and reading.
Rodeo is his main focus of the summer, however, with several fishing trips on the side. He never leaves for a rodeo without his bicycle, and hopes to return from the NLBFR sporting a buckle. “My goal is to win a go-round in flags this year,” says Gentry, who has firm plans to continue rodeoing in Little Britches in the years to come. “Gentry is very self motivated and dedicated, and he’s had to work hard,” Julie finishes. “But he’s lucky to have people who push him and know he’s ready to progress. His favorite Bible verse is Psalm 46:10, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ He has it monogrammed on all of his rodeo shirts, and he says as long as we leave things to God, no matter bad they are, He will work them out.”