story by Michele Toberer Raring to go and ready for rodeo, Gabe Davidson cannot wait to hit the reset button on his rodeo career. The […]
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Meet the Member Annsley Vernon
story by Lily Weinacht
Annsley Vernon of York, Nebraska, is the KJHSRA student vice president and barrel racing director, while also competing in every girls event except pole bending. The 14-year-old’s many events keep her on her toes each rodeo, particularly after a barrel run, where she puts her horse away before hustling back to write down the rest of the barrel times. Annsley admits that barrel racing isn’t a top favorite, but she’s enjoyed learning more about the event. “I really enjoy team roping because I like to beat the boys,” she says with a laugh. A header, she ropes with Rhett Robbins, and also runs ribbons for him in the ribbon roping. “I think going to rodeos and hearing everybody tell you good job motivates me, and I just love competing. People that are better than me help me strive to do my best and practice every day even when I don’t want to. I think other people that are exceeding my goals drive me so I make my goals higher.”
Her dad, CC Vernon, roped through high school and college, and is one of Annsley’s greatest motivators. “He helps me out the most just pushing me so I can be the best that I can be. And I think Amberley Snyder is really cool. She is paralyzed from the waist down, and barrels are not my thing, but looking up to her and watching her keep going has left me inspired.” Annsley practices often at a nearby indoor arena, and ropes at home daily. Her 7-year-old brother, Cole, runs the chutes for her and also enjoys riding. “My dad sells Ag. chemicals so he’s pretty busy during harvest and my mom (Amy Vernon) is a school teacher. She’ll always pack the trailer and make sure we have food on the road.”
Annsley competed in the NJHSRA in sixth grade, then joined the KJHSRA in seventh grade, where state finals became her favorite rodeo. “I think state finals is always the best with all the different opportunities you have at the end, and being able to make the short go is always really fun,” she explains. Annsley has also won two all-around saddles, one in the Fremont Youth Rodeo in 2016 and the other at the Stephens Arena Youth Rodeo in Carson, Iowa, in 2017.
The horsepower to her rodeo dreams includes Annsley’s barrel horse, Dude, breakaway horse, Hippie, and her goat tying and team roping horse, Doc. “My buckskin’s name is Hippie because he has a peace sign for a brand. We got him from the Whitakers in Nebraska—he was Jim Wakefield’s son’s horse,” says Annsley. “Doc is a big bay, and sometimes people confuse him with a draft horse because he’s almost 17 hands. It was a big change because I used to goat tie off a really tiny goat horse named Shorty, but I think it helps me get my strides big so I can get to the goat faster.”
An eighth-grade student at York Middle School, Annsley enjoys Algebra and her science class, while she also plays basketball with both her school’s team and a basketball club. She enjoys playing soccer as well, and being involved with York College with her parents, who are the chaplains for the college basketball team. Annsley is also the president of her FFA chapter and competed at state in speech last year, while she’s also on the quiz bowl team. For National FFA Week, her chapter raised money to help a living history farm in York make improvements to their property.
“In school I have a 4.0 GPA and I want to keep that up going into high school. In rodeo, I’ve really been working on breakaway, and I went to Texas and spent a week with Jackie Crawford,” she finishes. “I’ve always been an alternate (for the NHSFR) and been so close, so this year I’m coming in and fighting hard so I can make it to Nationals.”