Meet the Member Rylan Wildeman
story by Linsday Humphrey Making the decision to commit to rodeo as a high school sophomore has forever changed Rylan Wildeman’s life for the better. […]
story by Lily Weinacht
“Rodeo is a passion of mine, and being able to set goals and accomplish them is what drives me,” says Kenzie Jones. “I enjoy getting to know new people and show others that rodeo isn’t just a sport; it can be a way of life. You also have a new family, and that helps when you have a lot of nights and early mornings on the road.”
The 18 year old from Rolla, Kansas, competes in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, working cow horse, and the shooting sports of trap and rifle. She’s also served as the KHSRA rodeo queen the last two years, seeing it as a way to give back to the association. “They’re like my family, so being their rodeo queen was a good way to represent them,” she explains. Kenzie won her first royalty title in 2010, representing the NLBRA as the national princess. “Over the past two summers, I was able to borrow a reining horse from Gardner Quarter Horses for the horsemanship pattern at Nationals. I rode Fred, and he was a lot of fun. One of my other favorite experiences is carrying the American flag for every rodeo. There’s nothing quite like listening to the national anthem, and carrying the flag and seeing the respect everyone has for it.”
Of her rodeo events, Kenzie’s favorites are pole bending and goat tying. “You have to be spot-on with your horse in poles, and I like the adrenaline of getting off in the goat tying. It’s kind of addicting!” Kenzie often practices with her younger sister, Carlie, who is a sophomore and a member of the KHSRA. Their mom, Karen Jones, helps them in the arena. “I look up to my mom,” says Kenzie. “She’s been amazing in keeping us going and always being there for us.”
Kenzie rides two horses in her events, using Cash for barrels, poles, and goats, and Nellie for working cow horse. “We raised Cash and trained him, and I also use him for queening. He took to it very well.” Though Kenzie doesn’t have an arena, she has plenty of open spaces to ride living next to the Cimarron National Grasslands. “It’s really nice and quiet. Unfortunately, we don’t get much rain, but when we do, it turns really green and quite beautiful.” The Jones family also raises goats for both practice and showing in 4-H in the summer.
A senior at Elkhart High School, Kenzie especially enjoys math and science. She’s been studying calculus, along with human anatomy and physiology. “I’d like to go into either biology or kinesiology, and do pre-med in college. I also play basketball in the winter for the Elkhart Wildcats.” In her free time, Kenzie enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and sewing. “I’m doing a community service project by using wedding gowns to make burial gowns for babies that don’t make it out of the hospital. I came across the idea on Facebook, and my high school secretary got me in touch with a hospital in Amarillo, Texas, that takes the dresses.” Kenzie has also made several of her rodeo queen outfits, and is working on an outfit for another rodeo queen. “I like to sew on leather – it’s a challenge, but I can just use a regular sewing machine I was given for Christmas several years back.
“I’ve qualified for Nationals in the rifle shooting, but I’d like to qualify for state finals in goat tying and pole bending,” Kenzie finishes. “For my rodeo queening, I’d one day like to run for Miss Rodeo Kansas and Miss Rodeo America.”
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