story by Ruth Nicolaus Ella Lacey hasn’t been a member of the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association for long, but she loves it. The Weston, […]
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Meet the Member Bayli Bilby
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Bayli Bilby is the 2018 Nebraska High School Rodeo Association cutting champion.
The seventeen-year-old cowgirl had a good year. In the fall, she won either first or second place at nearly every rodeo she went to. The spring season started slower, and she put a lot of pressure on herself to do well. But as she relaxed and got back into the groove, her mojo returned and she started placing again.
Bayli, who lives northeast of Chadron, Neb., is homeschooled and will be a senior in high school this fall. She enjoys math class. Helping out on the family ranch and riding horses fills up her extra time.
She is her dad’s right hand man, helping with nearly every job around their ranch: feeding, checking, watering and doctoring cattle, and putting out salt and mineral. This summer, she was in the hayfield, windrowing and raking hay and moving and stacking bales. She knows the value of a hard day’s work, and is willing to do it, even “when there’s a lot of work to do, it’s not much fun.” Spending so much time with her dad on the ranch has its benefits, though. “My dad and I have a really good relationship,” she said.
For the cutting, Bayli rides a six-year-old sorrel mare named Reyn (pronounced “rain”.)The mare, out of High Brow CD and a daughter of Dual Pep, has a personality that she has learned to handle. “We have an understanding,” Bayli laughed. “She doesn’t exactly love people and she’s not a horse that loves to be loved on.” Bayli is very affectionate with her horses, but not with Reyn. “She likes to do her job, she likes breakfast, and grain. I can’t smother her with affection. You have to let her do her thing, feed her, water her, scratch her belly every once in a while, and you’re golden in her book.”
But Reyn’s ability in the cutting arena makes Bayli’s world go ‘round. “She loves her job. She’s taught me a lot and gotten me so far. She loves to work cows. You can see it when she cuts. She loves her job.”
Bayli was introduced to cutting in Arizona while spending some time there with her dad, who goes there in the winter to rope. She loves every part of cutting. “I love the horses,” she said. “I love how broke they are. I love the people in the industry. The combination of it all makes cutting what it is.”
A former member of the National Cutting Horse Association, she plans on buying her membership again and get back into showing this fall.
Even though Reyn isn’t affectionate, Bayli showers her with anything a horse might need. “My poor mare has ten pairs of boots and every polo wrap pattern on the market. Head stalls, bits, reins, pads, everything you can buy for a horse.” Horse items are her weakness. “I’ll see something and say, ‘Reyn needs that.’ I can’t walk through a trade show without buying something for my mare.”
As for Bayli, the best meal her mom makes is spaghetti. Her favorite dessert is making cookie sandwiches with vanilla wafers and Nutella in the middle, and her favorite beverage, hands down, is pink lemonade. She loved the vacation her family took to California and the ocean a few years ago, but also loves going to Arizona and working with cutting trainers there.
After high school, she plans on entering the cutting world full time. She’d like to intern with a cutting trainer and someday train horses herself.
She credits her trainers, her friends, and especially her family for the support she’s gotten throughout her rodeo career.
She is the daughter of Bert and Dawn Bilby; she has two older sisters, Roni, and Jamie, and a younger brother, Trace. She also has three nieces and two nephews, and loves being their aunt.