story by Lindsay Humphrey A torn ACL and meniscus kept Logan Mullin from competing at the final KHSRA event of the fall season, but he […]
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Meet the Member Ashley Newell
story by Michele Toberer
Ashley Newell was 5-years-old when she and her older brother, Brandon, were adopted by Stephanie and Dusty Newell; and she stepped into a life of horses and rodeo that most girls only dream of. “I had never even seen a horse before I was adopted, so it was all new to me.” The now 18-year-old cowgirl has just finished her third season with the Kansas High School Rodeo Association and has recently graduated from Baldwin High School. “I haven’t always been a very outgoing person, but rodeo has put me out there to meet new people and there is a whole other side of rodeo than just showing up to win.”
Ashley’s dad works as a truck driver and her mom is an office manager for Franklin County Community Corrections. Dusty rode bulls in high school, and although Stephanie never competed, she has put her time in as a rodeo secretary for a local youth rodeo association for the past 12 years. Ashley’s two other older brothers, Ryan and Jason Bristol, were adopted by another family, but they have all remained in each other’s lives. “My parents have helped me so much, and there’s a list of others that have stepped in to help me with rodeo over the years. Chad Chambers helps me with all my events and lets me practice at his arena. My uncle, Chad Newell, helps me with breakaway roping and team roping; I just started heading last year. Dustin Jielk also helps me with my breakaway roping, and Jacoby Hostenpillar helped me with goat tying.
In the KHSRA, Ashley competes in goat tying and breakaway roping and she has enjoyed being a member of the association for the past three years. Goat tying is Ashley’s favorite event, and she has used Bandy, a 16-year-old bay gelding for the past 8 years in both goat tying and breakaway roping. She also has a 6-year-old dun roan goat tying gelding named Charlie. Ashley also competes in the Christian Youth Rodeo Association as a ribbon roper on both ends, as well as in team roping, barrel racing, and pole bending. Ashley runs a 7-year-old sorrel gelding named Dually in barrel racing, and she is working on making him her main breakaway roping horse soon.
Although rodeo has taken up the majority of her extra time, Ashley has also been a 4-H member for 12 years and loves showing livestock. She has mainly shown sheep, but this year has a swine she is preparing for show. Ashley earned her CNA license in November and has been working as a certified nursing assistant ever since. She is working at the Vintage Park Senior Living Facility in Ottawa, Kansas. “I plan to attend Neosho County Community College in Ottawa so that I can obtain my LPN certification. I’ve enjoyed working as a CNA, so deciding to become a licensed practical nurse seemed like the next best step.”
One of the highlights of Ashley’s KHSRA career was in Emporia, Kansas this past September. After making the tough decision to miss a memorial trail ride for her cousin, Austin Newell, who was killed in a car accident in 2016 at just 18 years old; Ashley had one of the best rodeos of her senior year. “I believe Austin was with me at that rodeo. I won breakaway roping both days, the breakaway average and the girl’s all-around for the weekend. It was definitely my favorite rodeo with the KHSRA.”
“Kansas High School Rodeo Association has taught me a whole other level of competition and helped me to become more competitive in rodeo. I’ve taken a lot of things I’ve learned from rodeo and it’s helped me in life.” Ashley also likes listening to one of her favorite professional calf ropers, Tyson Durfey, for daily inspiration and motivation. “One of the things I have always been told is that you win your awards in the practice pen, not the rodeo. So, I have always tried to put in the work I needed to at practice so that I can do well at rodeos. If you don’t practice, you can’t play.”