story by Michele Toberer Emma Arndt’s number one goal is to make it to national finals next summer, when the top 4 rodeo athletes in […]
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Meet the Member: Haydan Walters
story by Lily Weinacht
Haydan Walters of Pomona, Kan., won her first buckle when she was five and her first saddle when she was six, the beginning of her lifelong passion for rodeo. Competing in the KJRA, NLBRA, and Eastern Kansas Timed Event Circuit, the nine-year-old cowgirl is driven by her sisters, who also rodeo, and her own enthusiasm for the sport. “I love my horses, having all my friends there, and seeing what times I run,” says Haydan. “I do breakaway roping, goat tail untying, barrel racing, pole bending, and flag racing, and the flags are my favorite. I’m trying to set a new personal record every time, and right now I’m a 9.0.”
“We appreciate the KJRA to allow the younger kids to start doing breakaway and steer roping,” says Marcy, Haydan’s mom. “It’s really prepared Haydan to move up an age division next season. Last year was out first season with the KJRA, and we really enjoyed meeting all those new kids!”
Further inspiration comes from Haydan’s rodeo idols, Fallon Taylor and Amberley Snyder, both of whom she’s met during the WNFR and The American. “I love Fallon Taylor’s colors, and she’s fearless! And I look up to Amberley Snyder because she’s had to overcome a lot and she’s really good at rodeo. I think she’s a good person.”
Haydan, her parents, Kevin and Marcy Prouty, and her sisters, went to the WNFR for a family trip, while they were in Dallas this spring for The American, running a booth for the Southeast Kansas Little Britches franchise they’ve organized. “I helped at the booth, and we told people about our franchise and gave out raffle tickets, feathers, and pins for shirts,” Haydan describes. “Then we went to the rodeo, and it was really fun to watch Wade Sundell win the million dollars!”
Her own time in the arena has increased since Haydan finished third grade at Appanoose Elementary School, where she was on the A Honor Roll for the school year. “Now that school’s out, I’m going to try and practice every day and keep my horses legged up,” says Haydan. “I ride Tonka in the poles and breakaway, and he’s really good at flags. Whatever I tell him to do, he does. I use Paint for goats because the other horses either veer off when I’m hanging on the side, or they don’t go to the goat. My third horse is Bea, and I love running barrels on her. My fastest time on her is a 15, and she turns really tight.” Haydan’s family also has dogs, barn cats, and several more horses, and she helps her sisters with chores daily. Kamryn, 15, competes in the NLBRA, and Jenna, 12, plays volleyball and sings the national anthem at Little Britches rodeos, while Kylee, 18, is going to a college in Kansas this fall.
In addition to rodeo, Haydan plays flag football, softball, basketball, and volleyball through her school. But when she’s not playing sports, she enjoys reading mysteries, and books about horses, along with hand writing her own stories about horses who can talk, or even people who are turned into horses. Following the NLBRA finals in July, Haydan and her family are going on vacation in the Bahamas, and she’s thrilled to have the opportunity to swim with dolphins. “I’ve never done anything like that before!” she says. “The rest of the summer, we’ll go swimming and rodeo.
“My goal in flags is to at least run an 8.0, and I also want get better at catching my calves. I’m trying for the all-around in our Little Britches franchise and making the short-go at the national finals, and I also want to make it to the KJRA finals. I want to be like Amberley Snyder as I grow up, and I appreciate all the support that I get!”