Meet the Member Colby Houlton
story by Lindsay Humphrey In Kiowa, Kansas, just about everything is as deeply rooted in family as it gets. That’s especially true for Colby Houlton […]
story by Michele Toberer
Following in the footsteps of family members with illustrious rodeo careers, Bailey Brown, 22, was destined to be a calf roping cowgirl. With ropes swinging all around her for as long as she can remember, she was younger than 5 when she began swinging them herself. “My grandpa, Clark Brown calf roped professionally for quite some time and then started competing in the amateur circuits. My Aunt Jan and Uncle Bill Brown, and my parents, Kim and Ray Brown, all rodeoed successfully that way as well. I’ve learned from the best people in my life, my family.”
Not only did the Browns spend time as rodeo competitors, but they’ve also carried on the family business of making fantastic performance horses. “My grandparents, Clark and Dorothy, and family has made a living making and selling calf horses all over the world. My grandpa always says that we’ve sold a horse to someone in every state but two, Rhode Island and Alaska. All of our horses are branded with our O2O brand, and we’re very proud to know that our horses are recognized across the country. I really love that we ride our own breeding lines, our whole family rides them, and they are home raised which makes it sentimental. It’s definitely a family operation.”
Bailey competed in the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association for 4 years after starting in the junior high division in 8th grade. She won the NHSRA champion breakaway roper title in 2015 and 2016 before graduating from Maywood Public School. College rodeo came next for Bailey, and she spent two years at a junior college in Cheyenne (LCCC) before transferring to Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Oklahoma last year. She is studying ag business and will graduate with her bachelor’s degree in May.
Bailey was excited to qualify for the 2019 Kansas Professional Rodeo Association finals in her rookie season. She and her 16-year-old special O2O black mare, Shazam, had a hectic weekend during finals traveling between a college rodeo in Colby, Kansas, and the KPRA finals in Dodge City. “I made a good run on my first calf at the finals Friday night, then traveled over 2 hours to Colby to run my first calf at the college rodeo. I ran my second calf at KPRA finals Saturday night and found out I qualified for the short go at the college rodeo. I had to make the hard choice to turn out my 3rd calf at finals and compete in the short go in Colby instead. Leon, the president of the KPRA put a braid in the middle of Shazam’s mane on Friday for good luck, I left the braid in all weekend and it turned out to be a great luck charm.” Bailey ended up as the 2019 KPRA Champion Breakaway Roper and Finals Average winner and finished 4th in the average in Colby. “I was so surprised, and it was a very blessed weekend for sure!”
Bailey was grateful for the opportunity the KPRA gave her as the year-end breakaway champion, to compete in Las Vegas, Nevada in December at the Rope for the Crown event. She competed as the representative for Kansas, at the Plaza Hotel and Casino, against girls from 75 associations across the country. “I roped well but missed my short round calf. It was such an incredible opportunity to be there though.”
Bailey is hopeful that she can qualify for the college national finals rodeo in her final year of college competition and is proud to be a part of the Panhandle women’s team which is currently leading the women’s standings in their region. After graduating she hopes to travel and experience new and different things before possibly settling back in Nebraska and continuing her family’s legacy.
“Some of the most important lessons I’ve learned about rodeo are about having a good attitude in and out of the arena and being responsible and respectful in any situation whether it’s roping or life. Roping is a mental game, but my family has laid such a good foundation in me. I know how to rope, so if I can just keep the mental part strong, things will go better for me.”
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