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 […]
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Meet the Members: Shelby Case & Katie Hood
stories by Kyle Eustice
Originally from Ogden, Utah, but raised in West Haven, Utah, Fremont High School senior Shelby Case, 17, was born into rodeo. Her father Scott Case is a farrier and her mother Kristy Weiner has always encouraged her to get involved in the sport.
“It’s always been around,” said Shelby. “I remember when I was 4 or 5, I learned how to lope a horse. I ran into the house to tell mom and I was so happy. I knew one day I could go fast on a horse.”
She joined the Little Junior Rodeo as soon as she was old enough. Her sister Haley Case, 20, used to rodeo with her, as well, which influenced the impressionable Shelby even more.
“I love it so much,” said Shelby. “I plan on doing it for a long time.” She competes in pole pending, barrel racing, and goat tying. Her pole horse, Charger, is a “moody horse,” but Shelby has had her for 10 years and has learned to work with her. “I like that every time I get on her, it’s not the same ride,” explained Shelby. “She teaches me something new on every ride and helps me become a better rider. She’s the type of horse that you have to use feet when you ride her.”
Shelby’s dad always told her to be “quiet with your hands and loud with your feet,” something she took to heart and carries with her into every run. Whether she’s goat tying or barrel racing, she strives to have ultimate control of her horse, Bug.
“I started working with her when she was three,” said Shelby. “She’s five now and she’s doing really well.”
She’s really proud of her Charger, too. Her sister was originally running 20s on her and she was really slow when she got on her at first, but the more they’ve been riding, the more they’ve bonded, and this year, they ran their first 19.
When she’s not practicing, she teaches kids how to ride horses with her friend, but of course when she’s done, she gets right back to riding her horses.
“Every day, I feed and water my horses,” said Shelby. “I give hay to other horses, too. I can’t sit still. I have to always be doing something.”
During Shelby’s sophomore year, she qualified at state in the pole bending event with Charger, although it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing.
“We struggled getting ready,” admitted Shelby. “But we won in performance. After that, I felt like I could breathe because we had finally had accomplished something. It was good for us as a duo. She’s like my other half.”
Shelby’s father usually drives her to her events, but if he can’t, she travels with her friends, which for any teenager girl, is quite the adventure. “When we get away, it’s always fun,” joked Shelby.
Shelby’s plan is to join the PRCA, finish school and become a physical therapist.
“In Utah, they have circuit rodeos and I want to practice at those,” said Shelby. “Depending on how I do there, I want to try to make it to the NFR. I think it takes a strong work ethic and lots of practice. You have to love what you do. With just a little bit of love and hard work, you can be a great rodeo contestant.”
Hailing from Mapleton, Utah, 17-year-old Katie Hood is a model teenager. She studies religiously, gets good grades, plans on attending college, and up until recently was a varsity basketball player. On top of all that, she’s heavily involved in rodeo, a journey she began at 8-years-old.
“Rodeo has always been in my life,” said Katie. “My Aunt Gwen took me to my first barrel race. She let me ride her son’s calf horse and I always joked I was going to steal his horse from him. I just wanted to run barrels. I’ve been in love with it ever since.”
As she enters her senior year at Maple Mountain High School, Katie is focused on her future. She wants to pursue a college degree at either Utah State or Dixie State University and become a dental hygienist. Both of her parents, Kerri and Dave Hood, are in the medical field. Dave is the Fire Captain of Orem and Kerri is a pharmacist.
“I personally don’t like hospitals,” admitted Katie. “But I like helping people and making a difference in people’s lives. I guess I’ve always been interested in teeth. It’s the first thing I notice on people.”
While she’s in school, she usually does local jackpot rodeos in her area and UHSRA events. She used to use her favorite horse Skeeter for barrel racing and pole bending, but now she mainly using him for roping.
“He’s my cuddle bug,” said Katie. “He will do anything I ask him to do. I’m also using a paint horse named M&M the Woodland family is letting me use. He kind of scares me because he’s really fast, but I’m getting used to him.”
Katie’s events are breakaway, pole bending, team roping, goat tying, barrel racing. She had a tough time picking her favorite.
“That’s a tough decision,” said Katie. “Barrel racing is just you and your horse, but I like team roping, too, because I get to rope with my dad every morning in the practice pen.”
While she was previously a member of her high school varsity basketball team, she gave it up recently to make more room for rodeo.
“I wanted to give myself more time to practice,” said Katie. “I’d rather practice with my horses all day than be in a gym.”
It takes a lot of work, but she’s up for the challenge.
“I wake up and normally go feed the horses at 7 or 8 a.m.,” explained Katie. “I wait for my dad to get home from work and then we go tie goats for about an hour and a half. After that, we team rope for about two hours and then if i’m not way tired, I go rope calves. It’s not just like a basketball or baseball game. You have to take care of the horses and cattle. It really is a different unique sport. I love it.”
Although this is Katie’s last year in the UHSRA, she wants to continue her rodeo career and hopefully make it to the nationals or Silver State in at least one of her events.
“After that, I’m going to focus on career and academics, and just go to local rodeos,” said Katie. “I want to make it to nationals in all of my events in all events, even though that’s not realistic. I’d like to at least place there. I’ll take what I