Story by Siri Stevens & Payton Walter Olivia Lay is a 17 year old junior at Elbert High School., although at the moment she is […]
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Meet the Member Lauren Fritzler
story by Laurie Dineen
Lauren Fritzler is a zealous 15 year old from Merino, Colorado where she lives with her mother Wendy and attends Merino High School as a sophomore. She has been riding horses since she can remember and had gone to some of the youth rodeos around home but didn’t join CJRA until 5 years ago.
“My mom grew up on a ranch in Lamar and had competed in rodeos in high school and college. She has been coaching me along with my dad (Randy), and my aunt and uncle, Shali and Phy Lord. My grandparents, Bobby and Donna Lord still ranch in Lamar and have raised the horses that I have been riding,” said Lauren.
Lauren began in the junior division of CJRA and only competed in barrels which she won at the year end. “I wanted to focus on the event I knew the best at first,” said Lauren. Her second year she added poles and did really well, winning the year end in that event. Her last year as a Junior she ended the year second in barrels and poles, winning the finals average in the barrels.
This year was Lauren’s first year in the CJRA Sr. Girls division and she competed in barrels, poles and ribbon roping. “Going into this year I was a bit nervous since I would start out as one of the younger girls. My goal was to stay focused and to win the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award,” said Lauren. “I had won the Rookie of the Year award last year in both Volleyball and Basketball and I wanted to make it a trifecta!” Lauren had a great CJRA 2017 year. Although she didn’t have the best of finals, she ended the year as champion in barrels, 2nd in poles and 7th in ribbon roping which placed her 3rd in the All-Around in the Sr. Girl division. And, she was awarded the Sr. Girl Rookie of the Year!
“My horses are the best,” said Lauren. “Seniorita is my barrel horse and at 17 years old, she knows her job and loves it. My mom used her when she used to rodeo and it is exciting to be able to ride her now and to win on her. My pole horse is Dollar and he is 24 yrs. old. He also knows the drill and loves every minute of it. I also ride a 10 year old, Madonna, who is in training and I use as a back-up if I need to.” Keeping her horses in shape is ongoing, says Lauren. “I try to ride every night to exercise my horses and do drills to keep them in tip-top shape both physically and mentally. It also helps me as well! My mom also helps out a lot.”
On top of rodeo, Lauren is a very good student and very active in sports and extra circular activities at school. “Merino high school is pretty small – there are only 22 kids in my class. This gives me the opportunity to be involved in a lot of things.” And she is. Lauren plays Volleyball and Basketball (and has since she was little). She is involved in FCCLA, the Student Council, the Sentinel of her FFA chapter, does her FFA Career Development Event in Horse Judging and she is involved in 4-H.
Lauren looks up to Sheri Cervi and all that she has accomplished in the WPRA and the barrel horse industry, as well as her mom who has supported and encouraged her to become the best she can be. “I am so thankful for my family – I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without my grandparents, who are also my biggest fans. They attend most of my activities and support me all the time. And all the friends I have made through the CJRA. The CJRA is made up of some of the greatest families I know. They are all so encouraging and supporting for each other and they help to provide great rodeos and work hard to provide the best experience for every contestant.”
To add to her successful year of rodeo in the CJRA, Lauren will also be competing in the 2017 Junior NFR in barrels. “I competed against 50 other girls in my age division at the Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. It was the most pressure I have felt, but I was super excited to be able to run there. As I watched everyone run, I knew I had to make a great run and I just went for it. Although I had a perfect run, I knew I wasn’t as fast as I needed to be, but I did my best – it was a very surreal moment,” Lauren reflected.As she waited for the end results, tension building, her name was called as the 5th place winner – just making the cut to get her to Las Vegas. “I am super excited. My game plan is to run on Seniorita and do my best. My grandparents will be driving my horse out as I have a basketball game the night before I have to be there. My mom and I will fly out and meet them out there in time to practice a little before I have to run.” Never a dull moment in this girls’ schedule! “I haven’t ever done anything like this and it will be very exciting. It will be a first for me and my horse, but I know we will work it through. I had a great summer gaining the experience of tougher competition which helped build confidence in myself and my horse and I will be ready to make some of the best runs of my life.”
Lauren has made a lot of accomplishments already, and her future looks bright. Her short term goals include success and fun at the Junior NFR, to be the 2018 CJRA barrel Champion and place in the top five of the Sr. Girl all around. Long-term aspirations include becoming a dentist and she hopes she can continue to rodeo along the way. We wish her the best of luck at the Junior NFR, to her 2018 CJRA year, and who knows…maybe she’ll be fitting me for a set of dentures on down the road.