story by Kristen Sublette Jenna Fulton, is a 17-year-old cowgirl from Miller, South Dakota and a member of the South Dakota High School Rodeo Association. […]
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Meet the Member Abby Richie
story by Lily Landreth
Abby Richie won the breakaway roping at the 2020 20X Extreme Showcase Rodeo this February. The 17-year-old from Bristol, South Dakota, competed in Rapid City for the third consecutive year in breakaway roping, and won it with a 2.69. “I was a little nervous just because it’s winter and it’s hard to get practice in. But last year at the end of the 4-H season, I won senior girls breakaway roping champion and ended on a strong note, and that gave me confidence,” says Abby. “My brother says to throw whenever you know it’s right, and I just knew it was right.” Several of Abby’s friends were competing in the 20X Extreme with her, and they also enjoyed exploring the Black Hills Stock Show together, followed by skiing at Terry Peak.
Along with breakaway roping, Abby competes in the SDHSRA in pole bending and barrel racing, but breakaway is a firm favorite. “Roping is in my family, and you have to work hard for it. That’s what I like about it,” explains Abby, who competes in those same three events plus ribbon roping in 4-H rodeo. In 2017, she took third at 4-H state finals in the pole bending. She and her siblings come by their love of rodeo from their dad, and enjoy traveling to rodeos with their parents, Jason and Leslie Richie. Abby’s oldest brother, Nolan (23), picked up the family tradition, followed by Logan (21), who rodeoed for a while, then Abby and their sister Emily (15).
“My two biggest motivators are my dad and my brother Nolan. Dad helps me to always work harder and push myself and practice, and he’s always given me the confidence to do it even when I feel like I can’t. Nolan has really been an inspiration to me in knowing how to rodeo and working hard to reach my goals. So has Dana Sippel. We use his barn and cattle to practice and he gives me tips to work on. I like the competition, and it’s always been my hobby to ride horses,” she adds. “I like competing with my friends and it’s really nice to meet new people. But the most important thing to me is the competition, and how everyone is a family and ready to help you when something goes wrong.”
Abby’s roping horse for the last eight years and the one who carried her to the 20X Showcase is Junior. “He’s a very calm horse when it comes to doing things right, but when he gets in the box he’s fired up because he knows it’s his time,” says Abby. She also rides her aunt Laurie Bickel’s horse, Dixie, in the pole bending and barrel racing. “In the summertime I usually rope the bale every day, and then I practice about three nights a week depending on my work schedule. I’m a waitress at a café and I like it—it makes me have better communication skills.”
School is also important to Abby, who is a senior at Webster Area High School. She’s enjoying her college classes—student success and speech—and following graduation in May, Abby will attend Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls to study nursing. In her free time, she loves spending time with her friends and family, watching movies and playing board games together. “For this year, my biggest goal is to make it to High School National Finals in breakaway roping, and my long-term goal is to do SDRA rodeos in the summertime. My other long-term goal is getting my kids involved someday, because I want them to have the experiences that I have.”