story by Siri Stevens Kayson Jensen started riding bareback bucking ponies at 7 years old at his house in Elmo, Utah. “They weren’t intentionally supposed […]
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Meet the Member Laynee Giles
story by Lily Weinacht
“I love to rodeo – I love it with all my heart,” says RMPRA barrel racer Laynee Giles. “I love the excitement and the competition, and I love that I can do it with my family.” The 16-year-old from Lake Shore, Utah, competes in the RMPRA with her mom, Brandi Giles, as well as the UHSRA. Her sister, Oaklee, 12, also runs barrels, and their dad, Shane Giles, is a team roper. “It’s the greatest thing ever when I can compete against my mom and sister, and even though we’re competing against each other, we’re still on the same team,” says Laynee. “We practice and train and do all that together. I love that, if one of us is struggling, we can give each other advice, and once we fix things, it’s really fun to see all the pieces put together and how each of us has improved.”
Laynee started rodeoing on her pony when she was 5 or 6, and one of her goals that’s driven her the last several years is qualifying for the RMPRA finals. “The last two years, I’ve been thirteenth, and I’ve been so close. That’s been my goal, just so I can improve and get better every year.” She also competes in pole bending, breakaway roping, and team roping as a header in the UHSRA, but barrels are by far her favorite. “I love how it gives me a new run each time to try and improve myself and get better. I love the excitement and rush I get just before I walk in the gate, or as I’m coming home and knowing I had a good run.” Laynee’s mom has competed in the WPRA as well as the RMPRA, and she is Laynee’s inspiration. “She comes with me to every rodeo, and most of the time we compete together. She always makes sure I’m taken care of and I know what I need to do, and gives me a little pep talk.”
Annie, 10, is Laynee’s barrel horse. The family bought her from a friend last year, and she and Laynee hit it off instantly. “My mom ran her two times before I started running her, and we just clicked. I think her personality and my personality match.” She’s ridden her breakaway horse, Stella, 13, the last eight years, while Laynee runs poles on Toaster, an 8-year-old gelding. “We raised him from a baby, and my dad and grandpa raced him on the track for two years. They ran him in California at Los Alamitos, and when he came back, we started playing around with him. He’s fast, but he travels at his own pace. My team roping horse is Hank. He’s fifteen, and he was my dad’s head horse, but my dad builds pipe fences and we have a trucking company and a gas station. He’s super busy, so I stole Hank and started heading on him, and my dad was glad.” Laynee also never leaves for a rodeo without the family’s corgi/red heeler, Cowgirl.
A junior at Spanish Fork High School, Laynee likes floral culture or any of her other art classes, and she’s taking as many college classes as possible before she graduates. She played accelerated softball for five or six years, but decided to focus on rodeo when she started high school. Laynee also enjoys being with her friends and going out to ice cream, as well as traveling with her family to rodeos or horse races in California.
“I finished eighth in the high school rodeo standings last year, so I’d like to work my way up in the standings and try to qualify for Nationals,” says Laynee. “I made it to Silver State in Winnemucca this year and ended up winning the average in barrels there, so if I end up going back to Winnemucca, I’d be grateful for another win.”