story by Michele Toberer Dale Davies has been blessed to live a life centered around horses and rodeo. Growing up in Fort Collins, Colorado as […]
Association MemberJoin Rodeo News
Meet the Member Baylee Johnston
story by Lily Weinacht
Breakaway roper and barrel racer Baylee Johnston is the 2018 GCPRA Women’s All-Around Champion, a title she never expected to attain during her first full-time competition in the association. “I didn’t really know I was in the running for the all around. I knew I was up there in the standings, but I only qualified for the finals in one event,” says the 20-year-old from Prescott, Arizona. “Other girls ahead of me in the all-around standings were qualified in two, but I had a really good finals and was able to jump up there in the standings. It was a pretty big surprise, and I was excited about that.” She also finished third in the breakaway in the year-end standings and won the finals average after splitting third place in the first round and winning the second round.
Before joining the GCPRA in 2018, Baylee junior high and high school rodeoed for Arizona, qualifying for the NJHFR and NHSFR two times each. Her parents, Stanley and Tawni Johnston, both rodeoed, and when the family moved to Arizona when Baylee was a child, they bought horses and Baylee entered 4-H rodeos. “I just really love the horses and having something to go do. It’s always something I’ve had that inner motivation for to go ride horses and rope the dummy and tie goats,” she says. “My family and all of my friends have helped me. The people I grew up rodeoing with pushed me to be my best, and I look up to my parents for all the hours of helping me in the practice pen and hauling me. They came to a lot of college rodeos in the fall, and my mom came to the Grand Canyon Finals.”
A sophomore at New Mexico State University, Baylee is majoring in general business, and finished out the fall season winning the goat tying in the Grand Canyon Region. She also competes there in the breakaway roping and barrel racing. “My breakaway horse is Rango, and he’s the horse I trained. I bought him as a 4-year-old and he’s gotten really good over the years. My barrel horse is Tango, and I bought her as a rope horse, but she decided she likes barrels. My goat horse is Croppy—I just got her last year and she’s really helped me step up in my goat tying and helped me be more competitive—and my young horse is Darla. I’m using her as a practice horse right now and training her. It definitely gives a bigger sense of accomplishment when you get on them and see them getting to be so good. Having four horses is definitely a full-time job with cleaning stalls and feeding, and I try to ride them almost every day. It’s all about time management.”
When she’s not at school, Baylee enjoys heading home to see her family, and she likes traveling with friends from the rodeo team when they haul to rodeos together. “I probably never leave without my backpack—I usually do homework at a lot of rodeos,” she says. “I’m just getting started in the GCPRA season again and a favorite is probably the Labor Day Sonoita Rodeo. That was a big rodeo and pretty fun, and they have a lot of added money. I won quite a bit there last year. Goals I’m working on right now are making it to the college finals this year, and to just keep working on everything and try to compete the best I can everywhere I go.”