story by Lindsay Humphrey After four years of success in the Young Guns association in Dodge City, Kansas, one thing continues to allude Brecken Tullis […]
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Meet the Member Ava Chadd
story by Lindsay Humphrey
When Ava Chadd first got started showing horses through 4-H, she had no idea it would eventually lead her to the KJHSRA. It didn’t take long for the Macksville, Kansas, cowgirl to realize the speed events where her favorite part of 4-H. “We went to the Kingman Junior Rodeo Association and that’s when I really got into rodeo,” said the 14-year-old. “I won my first saddle the second year I was in that .” Both 27-year-old Bucky and 10-year-old Trevor have been with Ava since the very beginning of her rodeo career.
“Goats is probably my favorite because it’s my best one and Bucky has taken me really far in it. Other than that, I’m really not sure why I like goats so much.” Poles is easily her second favorite event. Trevor is her mount for that one and then it’s back to Bucky for the breakaway roping. “All three of those events I like almost evenly, but I do have a lot of fun practicing breakaway. Barrels is my least favorite event. I’ve struggled with it over the years.” Ava is also the runner for her ribbon roping partner, Brock Baumgartel.
Ava spends a lot of time with her 12-year-old sister Grace mostly because they share horses, and they practice so much. “We don’t always ride the same horses; we switch it up a lot so if someone gets hurt then we know how to ride all the other horses. My sister and I do everything together because my parents (Shane and Elizabeth) are farmers.” Their older half-brothers – Logan, 24, and Daylen, 22 – weren’t really the rodeo type growing up, they spent their time running combines and grain carts on the farm. Ava and Grace also help out on the farm. Ava also splits her time between volleyball, basketball, softball and track. A few of those were for both traveling teams and her school.
“I’ve dropped out of traveling volleyball and softball so I could rodeo because it was too busy when I was doing it all. I would like to play for a traveling basketball team eventually.” Ava usually lets her horses rest through the winter months, which gives her more time to pursue basketball. If she didn’t enjoy playing sports so much, Ava would prefer to be homeschooled so she could travel for rodeo more. “The nice thing about school is that basketball practice is during school hours so I can come home right after and ride horses.” Ava goes to a country school – Skyline Schools – just outside of Pratt.
The fall season was a little rough for Ava when she got a lot more no times than anything else. She’s made a strong comeback in the spring and hopes it will be enough to set her up for a trip to nationals. This would be her second trip, but third time qualifying. “In sixth grade I was rookie of the year and I made [nationals] in the poles and goats, but it was canceled because of COVID. I was upset about it because I was getting really good at poles and didn’t qualify in that event the following year.” Ava did, however, make it to nationals in ribbons, breakaway and goats in seventh grade after winning the all-around cowgirl title at state finals. She was seventh in the world with her partner, Holden Willis, in the ribbons. Consistency will be key in the last few rodeos before state finals if Ava wants to lock in her spot for a third and final qualification for junior high nationals.
She doesn’t expect to miss anything about the KJHSRA next year, but Ava is looking forward to having a thicker schedule in high school rodeo. “I like the association because I like rodeo; it’s what I love to do. I have met a lot of amazing people in the KJHSRA who have helped me out. The people in Kansas are just really nice.”