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
Kyleigh Winn is a Utah transplant now making her home, and her rodeo career, with her family in Westmoreland, Kansas. “Coming here was a big change for us and our animals, but I like how green everything is,” says the 14 year old. She and her mom, Wendy, and brothers, Dixon and Shad, followed their dad, Casy, to Kansas when he accepted the college rodeo coach position at Kansas State University (KSU). He’s also teaching the colt training classes, and introduced his kids to rodeo. “He college rodeoed, and both my grandparents on his side of the family competed, and now my mom has started rodeoing with us,” says Kyleigh. “I’ve been competing for 11 years.”
She competed in the UJHSRA and qualified for Nationals in the breakaway roping during seventh grade, before rodeoing a year in the KJHSRA. Now a freshman, Kyleigh enters the breakaway roping, goat tying, and team roping as a heeler. Last season, she roped with Cassidy Blank, and this year she’s roping with Lacey Hoss. “I really like the competition in breakaway. Everybody is like a family, so it’s not who wins, but about doing your best. I also like the adrenaline rush of goat tying, and putting everything together in that event.”
Kyleigh is coached in her events by her dad and brother Dixon, who is competing in bull riding and team roping on the KSU rodeo team. “He’s one of my biggest inspirations, and he’s always been there to help me in everything over the years.” Kyleigh also drives herself by setting goals. “I’m mainly trying to win state and national titles, and my dream is making it to the NFR one day. I hang up a poster that has my goals from previous years and my goals for this year, just to see how far I’ve come. I’d like to spend a day with Lari Dee Guy, because she’s one of my favorite rodeo people,” she adds. “I met her at the Reno Rodeo when my mom was competing in the all-girl roping.”
In the summer, Kyleigh practices every morning and evening, and during the school year, practices every evening as long as there’s daylight. Everyone in her family ropes, and they often practice together. Her mom and dad team rope together, while her brother Shad competes in the KHSRA in team roping, tie-down roping, and bull riding. “I like being the only girl,” says Kyleigh. “My brothers protect me, and they’re always there for me. Our family usually has a roping match at the end of practice, and whoever loses has to feed horses.” Kyleigh rides two horses, Critter and Fancy, both from her Grandpa Winn. “I do my roping events on my Paint gelding, Critter. He’s eight, and by far my favorite because we raised him, and my grandpa helped me train him. My goat horse, Fancy, is 19, and she’s quite a handful!” The Winns also raise Longhorn cattle, and keep a donkey for roping. “We heel him, and he’s good for practicing because his legs are longer.”
A student at Rock Creek Junior/Senior High School, Kyleigh’s favorite class is Ag. “We’re working on welding, and I’m also doing FFA,” she says. Kyleigh plays post for the Mustangs, her school’s basketball team, and also enjoys cooking and baking. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are a family favorite.
“I’m working hard for a state title right now, and I want to become a vet,” Kyleigh finishes. “I’d like to attend Kansas State University, and rodeo after college.”
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