Meet the Member Wes Bray
story by Lily Weinacht Wes Bray clinched his goal for his final season of high school rodeo, finishing in the top 20 in the nation […]
story by Lily Weinacht
Ayanah Winsor is a three-time NHSFR qualifier in the girls cutting, and the 17-year-old is working hard to finish her senior year with a fourth. “I love the people and I love the opportunities to go compete with the best of the best, and being in the rodeo community,” says Ayanah, who is currently leading the girls cutting in the WHSRA. “It’s really rewarding to know that hard work pays off, and the family and friends I’ve made through it brings me back every year.”
A native of Kaycee, Wyoming, Ayanah started learning reined cow horse and cutting in junior high. Her parents, Chancy and Kelly Winsor, both rodeoed in high school and college, and have coached Ayanah in her rodeo events, while several families helped her with cutting and reined cow horse. “The York family and Kristen York have been a huge influence in the reined cow horse, and so have the Johnsons, and Tracy Barton and Kenny Engles in the cutting, so it’s nice to know all those people. I practice a lot of it with my family, and I go to the Johnsons to practice and I do a lot of flag work too.” She’s also thankful for her sponsor, Nirvana Equine, who swims her horses, as well as being a member of the youth teams for Zesterra and OE Nutraceuticals.
Along with reined cow horse and cutting, Ayanah competes in the WHSRA in goat tying, breakaway roping, and barrel racing, and loves them all. “I’m always going and working at new things, so it’s really fun for me. My parents just built a little barn that I can ground tie in, and I have a winter cutting series that I do (Central Wyoming Cutting Club) and jackpots here and there,” she says. “The cutting is difficult because every horse is different and you never really see the same thing, and it’s not only cool to see the riders work, but the horses as well. The reined cow horse is an adrenaline rush, especially coming down the fence, and extremely fun.”
She calls her horse Bullseye her go-to guy in the cutting, and rides a mare named Charlotte in the breakaway roping and reined cow horse. Ayanah ran poles on Nub in junior high before transitioning her to goat tying in high school, while her barrel horse, Bugs, is new to her. The 6-year-old gelding had broken his pelvis and healed before the Winsors purchased him, and with the help of their family friends the Pollards, who run Nirvana Equine, they rehabbed him. “He came back better than ever, and I’m excited for my spring season,” says Ayanah. She also helps her family run a small herd of commercial heifers, along with her own herd of commercial ewes that she sells lambs out of. They also raise colts out of 40 head of broodmares and sell them as yearlings. “My parents taught me to be very responsible and earn my keep. I rely on them for everything and they rely on me—it’s a pretty good group effort.”
A senior at Kaycee High School, Ayanah has completed the majority of her first-year college courses already. “I plan to go into the nursing field, so anatomy is something I absolutely love.” She just signed her letter of intent to go to Central Wyoming College in Riverton, Wyoming, where her older sister, Dakotah, is a student and a member of the rodeo team. “I’m going to rodeo with my sister for a few years, then hopefully go to a bigger university in Texas,” Ayanah explains. She’s graduating at the top of her class with a 4.0 GPA, and is a champion public speaker in the FFA, where she also serves as the chapter president and is on the livestock judging and vet science teams. “I plan to major in nursing and minor in business and do college rodeo. And eventually, pro rodeo.”
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