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 […]
stories by Magie Downare-Nevius
Silver State International Rodeo qualifier for 2014, Hanna Giles, has returned in her fourth year with the UHSRA in company of high caliber goals set in her sights. “I’m looking toward winning state and qualifying for Nationals this year,” she said. Already taking a position in the top 20 of the breakaway standings, Hanna will push forth as a quadruple-event contender in the team roping, goats and pole bending, but says that breakaway roping is her favorite. “I really like all of the support you get [with UHSRA]. You don’t just get the backing from family and friends, but there is always someone willing to help,” Hanna said.
A resident of Morgan, Utah, Hanna works with her parents on the family farm; raising cattle, in a cow/calf operation, and hay. Her agricultural background is laced to the Morgan High School senior’s additional extracurricular activity in the Future Farmers of America (FFA), where she serves as the chapter president.
Holding tight to her roots, Hanna plans on attending Utah State University in Logan, where she will work on a major in Agricultural Business, but is still debating on whether she will compete on the rodeo team or go with the Rocky Mountain Professional Rodeo Association and says there is the possibility of doing both. “I would like to be a farm and ranch manager after I complete my studies,” she said.
Four-year UHSRA member, Courtney Provost takes to the arena in three separate events; breakaway roping, team roping and goat tying. While finding success individually,
Courtney says that breakaway is her favorite of the three. “I think that it’s the adrenaline rush that you get from the fast pace,” she said. The two-time state qualifier’s hard work paid off in the 2014 season, which found her competing at the Silver State International Rodeo in both the breakaway and team roping with older brother and partner Chantz. “I like the fact that the [UHSRA] association is made up of strong relationships. Everyone tends to be friends and help each other out; essentially, it’s just one big rodeo family that you travel with around the state,” Courtney said. This season, Courtney will partner with younger brother Heath (a sophomore) in the team roping. “I have loved having the chance to rope with two out of three of my brothers throughout high school,” she said.
Growing up in Wasatch, Utah, the 17-year-old cowgirl lives on the family ranch, which raises approximately 400 head of cattle and 100 head of sheep. “We stay busy, but wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said. Courtney and her four siblings have been raised around horses, but Courtney didn’t start competing in rodeo until the end of her eighth grade year – a trait inherited from her dad, who was a bareback rider throughout high school. “I got a late start in it. My oldest brother started team roping his senior year and my dad thought that I should give it a try. I just fell in love with it and kept going,” Courtney said. Since that time, the Provost family have built an arena on their place for roping practice. “My parents (Bryan and Sunni) are great supporters in what ever I do. I couldn’t thank them enough for all they do for me,” Courtney said.
While the Wasatch High School senior would like to college rodeo, she is still undecided on where she would like to attend. “I think I would like to go into vet school and later specialize in large animals,” she said. In the meantime, she extends her time outside of the arena as a member of FFA.
Self-made cowgirl, Starley Bush has been competing with the UHSRA since her start in the sport her freshman year. While her parents did not grow up around horses, Starley was able to get into cutting through her cousins. “Even if you didn’t grow up around horses, there is always the opportunity to get into rodeo and try something new. There are always people willing to help and you just can’t be afraid to ask,” she encourages.
After her cutting horse got hurt, Starley began getting into other events, which now consist of: breakaway, goat tying and pole bending. “I like goat tying and breakaway a lot and it is a tossup between the two. If I had to choose, it would be roping,” she said. Having started in goat tying and breakaway roping her sophomore year, the 18-year-old cowgirl has created a résumé that includes three state finals qualifications and has only recently added pole bending to her list this year. “It is the people that make the UHSRA so special. The association and it’s members always come together to help the injured contestants in need. Overall, it’s just a really giving and caring community,” she said of what has kept her coming back.
The Riverton High School senior extends her time to volleyball and softball and considers herself a math nerd. Torn between the University of Utah (U) and Weber State University (WSU), Starley plans on getting a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Her future in rodeo is based on which university she chooses. While U does not have a rodeo team, WSU does. “Either way, I plan on buying my card in the RMPRA and continuing that way,” she said.
As for her fourth season in the UHSRA, Starley hopes to climb the standings and shoot for Nationals. “I’ve been in a slump this fall, but this spring, I’d like to get back to where I was before. I’d love to get a few points and end up at Nationals, which is obvious, because that’s everyone’s goal,” she said.
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