Meet the Member Gentry Godbey
story by Ruth Nicolaus Gentry Godbey has a bright, sparkly personality. The cowgirl, a Colorado Junior High School Rodeo member, is upbeat, positive, and a […]
story by Laurie Dineen
15- year-old Grace Hill lives on a ranch in Peyton, Colorado, with her parents Leslie and Justin Hill. Her brother, Travis (26) is married and lives close by. Her involvement with horses and rodeo comes mainly from her dad, who rode bulls and bareback horses in the PRCA and now raises and trains horses for a living. Grace has been riding horses since she was little and her interest to compete was sparked after her dad took her to watch a nearby Little Britches rodeo when she was 7. She entered her first one shortly after that and was hooked.
This past year was Grace’s first full year competing at the CJRA. “I entered the Buckle Series at the Latigo and did pretty good and continued on through the summer,” Grace said. Competing in all events except goat tying, she ended the year as Sr. Girls Champion barrel racer, placed 4th in breakaway, 5th in poles, 4th in heading in the mixed team roping with partner Jace Roselle, 13th in the open team roping heeling with Mikayla Wilson and was 16th in the ribbon roping, giving her the title as CJRA All-Around Sr. Girl.
Grace’s horses are all ranch raised and trained. “We have a few broodmares and together with our stud, Cinnabars Little Lena, we have been fortunate enough to produce some really talented performance horses.” Grace is currently competing on four horses, all out of Cinnabars; Vegas, her main barrel horse, Gunner, her breakaway and head horse, Iris, a heel horse and Clementine a pole/barrel horse.
Grace said her main challenge is trying to manage her school and rodeo. “My mom says that school comes first.” And with aspirations of a career in the medical field she understands that firsthand. However, she has also set a goal of competing in the WPRA and would love to make it to the NFR someday. “Rodeo takes a lot of time between practicing, keeping your horses in shape, and hauling” said Grace. “Last year I had a rodeo almost every weekend from the end of March through September. It requires a lot of stamina from every human and horse involved! I was in a slump during the middle of the summer and it was hard to keep a positive attitude, but you have to persevere in order to succeed.” Her favorite Bible verse is Psalm 23:4, ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me’. “I say this verse to help me stay calm and focused in and out of the arena,” said Grace.
Another challenge is the balance between competing and socializing. “I love being around my friends, but I also love competing. My dad helps me to balance out both. I pull away from the crowd 10 minutes before my run to focus on my event. I also have a curfew so I can get a good night’s sleep. I have found that as I get older, the more I want to do well and the easier it is for me to maintain my focus.”
Grace credits her parents for her success. “My dad has helped me so much with my horsemanship and horses and my mom is my biggest supporter.” She also looks up to Sherri Cervi as a role model.
After her successes this past year of rodeo, Grace is setting her goals for the upcoming year. She is hoping to compete at an All American qualifier, and is looking forward to the CSHSRA Spring season, the IFYR, the Best of the Best, and the CJRA. “I really enjoyed the CJRA rodeos this summer. It has a family atmosphere and I like that all ages are represented. All the rodeos are very organized and well run and fun!”
This is one cowgirl that we will be hearing more about in the near future and we wish her the best of luck in all her endeavors!
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