Meet the Member Lydia Touchet
story by Siri Stevens Lydia started riding when she was four on a sale barn horse named Peanut. “PawPaw bought him for both my older […]
story by Michele Toberer
High school rodeo has been a family affair for the Conners, as both parents Andree and Kyle Conner and their daughters, Kylie, 15, and Allie, 17, have been Louisiana High School rodeo members. These long-standing LHSRA ties made it even more rewarding for the family when Kylie won the LHSRA 2018 Champion All-Around Rookie Cowgirl buckle as well as the LHSRA 2018 Champion All-Around Cowgirl title and awards. “Now that finals are over, I’m both excited and nervous to get out there and go at nationals. It’s a little nerve-racking since I’m a freshman and don’t know exactly what to expect.”
Kylie competed in the LJSHSRA all three years, and this first year of high school she competed in barrel racing, breakaway, goat tying and pole bending. She’s been riding horses her whole life, adding more rodeo events as she went along. Although she only qualified for nationals in barrel racing, winning the 2018 LHSRA Champion Barrel Racer title, her season finishes in each of her other events are what put her on top in the tight all-around race this year. “It was really exciting to win those titles, I’m really grateful.”
The Conners reside in Welsh, Louisiana, near where Kylie’s mom also grew up, and Andree and Kyle now operate a directional drilling company. Kylie and Allie are both homeschooled, and during the school year, their weeks are filled with school lessons at their homeschool program classes three days per week, while they do schoolwork on their own two days each week. Kylie’s favorite subject is math. Once the school work is completed each day, the practice pen is where you will find Kylie. She is either practicing at home or getting help from several rodeo mentors for her different events. Kylie is grateful to Jade Conner and KC Murphy for their help in breakaway roping, and Kyla Richard for her help with goat tying. As she prepares for nationals, her main focus is now on barrel racing, so she has been spending time at trainer, Talmadge Green’s home, working to prepare herself and her horse, Fancy. Kylie’s been riding her 9-year-old palomino gelding for 4 years and enjoys riding him because he is so fun to ride. “Talmadge has been helping tune on him some and has been tuning on me some. We have been going to pens with a longer first barrel to rate down and prepare for the big pen at nationals. I’m trying to get my ducks in a row, so that I’m ready.”
With a passion for rodeo, Kylie doesn’t claim to have many hobbies, but enjoys time with family and going to watch Allie play basketball when they are not rodeoing. She hopes to continue rodeo after high school, and has her sights set on staying close to home, attending McNeese State University, and would like to be on the college rodeo team. She wants to obtain a degree while she is there, but her dreams are more focused on being a professional rodeo cowgirl than anything else. “I like to watch the pros, I learn a little from all of them, but mainly it makes me want to strive to be where they are.”
Kylie believes that it is very important to believe in yourself, “You have to believe to achieve.” Before her runs, she has a routine that includes giving Fancy a treat, and her mom gives him a kiss on the nose, leaving her lipstick mark for good luck. What makes a run even more perfect for Kylie, is when the announcer plays the song Fancy, by Iggy Azalea. After his good runs, Fancy gets another treat, unless Kylie’s mom sneaks him a few more.
“My friends and family are trying to calm my nerves, they tell me not to get nervous because it’s just another rodeo. My goal if to go to Wyoming and make two good clean runs, and if that gets me to the short round, that’s good. I hope to win, but if I don’t, I still have three more years to go.”
Kylie appreciates the LHSRA for putting on great rodeos and keeping the LHSRA going, recognizing that they all put in so much work. She is also grateful for the support of all her family and friends.
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