story by Lindsay King “If you put your mind to it and believe, then anything is possible.” This is the mantra Destry Graham has always […]
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Meet the Member Andee Jo Haden
story by Lindsay King
If Andee Jo Haden has anything to be proud of, it’s the barrel horse she’s made out of her gelding Superman. “He’s been my A, B and C string for the past five years, but when I got him he was kind of wild,” said the cowgirl from Bentonville, Arkansas. There were several years when Andee and Superman could barely finish the clover-leaf pattern. Andee said it was embarrassing at the time, but the hard work of seasoning the young horse has paid dividends in the past few years. She’s made several ACRA finals on Superman and he even carried her to the IFR in 2017. “What is so cool about this horse is he fights EPM really bad. The first time we saw it in him we thought he was going to die.” That was just five years ago.
Superman came out of it, despite a grim outlook from the vet. Not only did Superman run barrels again, but he made the ACRA finals that year. “After that he had a bruised coffin bone and was on stall rest for six months.” Another setback; another ACRA finals for this duo. “This will be the first ACRA finals I actually get to run Superman at since it was in Tulsa the last time. He is 16 hands and likes those big pens. All the others are too small for him.” It’s thanks to the generosity of the ACRA membership that Andee has gotten to compete in the smaller pens for the AFR in the last two years. In fact, her ACRA friends helped her through the IFR as well. Even though Andee ran Superman the entire time of the finals, she had spare horses on deck from her fellow ACRA barrel racers.
Andee’s been barrel racing since she was three years old, following in her mom’s tracks in the arena. Her dad rode bulls for a while but transitioned to team roping. “My parents got me a pony when I was 5, we called him Little Joe. I taught him the barrels and poles.” From there it was playdays and peewee rodeos every weekend for the family of three. Barrel racing is stitched to Andee’s heart, but she did rope calves, steers and tie goats growing up. “I kind of quit breakaway roping when I graduated high school, but I would like to get back into it. I am hoping to crack back out next year.”
Attending Petra Allied Health to become a dental assistant meant Andee graduated debt free. She’s worked for Brown Orthodontics for the last six years. She recently built a house. It shouldn’t be surprising that it’s attached to the horse barn. “A typical week means riding as soon as I get off work and being gone every weekend. During rodeo season I get off at two on Thursday and I am gone until Sunday at a rodeo.” The ACRA is the perfect association for someone working Monday through Friday but still gives them the ability to make the finals. That is something Andee loves about the ACRA. “I think all the board members try really hard to make the rodeos run smoothly. They [the board] are reasonable, they really listen to the members.”
Of all the ACRA rodeos Andee has ran Superman at, Pawnee, Oklahoma, is their favorite. It doesn’t matter if the arena is a mud pit or dry as a bone, they love it. “I love that Monte Stueve announces that rodeo. Superman loves him, it’s the weirdest thing. He’s a completely different horse when he hears Monte’s voice, he runs better.” Desptie riding the 2018 ACRA horse of the year, Andee needs all the help she can get to stay competitive against the new members. “It’s almost like every year girls are showing up with younger horses that are just bred better and faster. It gets tougher every year.” Moving forward, Andee hopes to make one more IFR with Superman and take him to his first circuit finals rodeo. In the meantime, Andee intends to pick up breakaway roping and focus her attention on the WPRA.