Meet the Member: Grayce Baxter
Story by Riata Cummings Grayce Baxter is a rodeo athlete and senior at Lehi High School. She enjoys “all things medical” and is currently taking […]
story by Kyle Eustice
Seventeen-year-old McLayne Pearson was born in St. George, Utah, and moved to Veyo, Utah 15 years ago along with her parents, Troy and Kris Ann, and older sister Karlie. Her dad has rodeoed his whole life, so there was always an arena in the back yard. It wasn’t long before McLayne was itching to ride a horse, as well.
“My dad would rope every night and it just came naturally,” said McLayne. “We also live in the middle of nowhere, so that’s all there is to do.”
After joining the UJHSRA in 6th grade, McLayne has been practicing barrel racing and pole bending religiously.
“I love both,” said McLayne. “My pole horse is 22-years-old and just amazing. When I do barrels, I can go really fast and my adrenaline is really high. It’s like being on a crazy roller coaster ride.”
McLayne strives to be as involved in the UHSRA as possible. Last year, she was the youth secretary on the youth board.
“I loved being in the middle of things,” said McLayne. “I got to make big decisions and be a part of it all. It was really fun to meet all the kids and amazing parents that help make it what it is. I recommend that everyone gets involved. It’s like a fun, big family.”
Aside from competing, she loves how supportive the rodeo community is. Whenever a tragedy hits, everybody rallies around them.
“We’ve had a few friends who lost parents and a kid who broke his back,” explained McLayne. “Everyone is supportive. It’s just awesome. We put fundraisers on and help any way we can. All of us want to help.”
As McLayne begins her senior year at Dixie High School, she’s looking forward to “having fun” all year and doing the best she can. She dreams of winning a world title in barrels or poles, or win a state title. Either one would be a big accomplishment for her.
“I’m just going to work hard and hope it all pays off in the end,” said McLayne. “I try to stay in shape, keep my horses in good shape and make everything is good.”
McLayne made it to the Nationals last year during her sophomore year and ended up fourth in the nation in barrels, got the second fastest time of the week and won the second round in barrels.
“That was pretty amazing,” recalled McLayne.” It was a once in a lifetime experience for me. My horse’s name is Grumpy and he certainly wasn’t grumpy that day. He got spoiled all day [laughs].”
McLayne travels almost every weekend in April and May to different events, but during the winter it slows down. She practices good sportsmanship, however, year round.
“You have to learn to lose before you can learn to win,” said McLayne. “You’re not going to win every time. It’s good to feel confident, but you have to learn to congrats those that win.”
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