Story by Siri Stevens Joyce Barnes has been involved with the Moffat County High School Rodeo Club for 12 years. She started when her oldest, […]
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Meet the Member Bianca & Braxton O’Bryan
story by Kendra Elder
Eighteen-year-old Bianca O’Bryan, and sixteen-year-old Braxton O’Bryan, share a special sibling love/rivalry when it comes to rodeoing. The brother/sister duo is no stranger to the Colorado High School Rodeo Association. The siblings reside in Lamar, Colorado where they live on one of their family’s ranches; the other is located in northern Minnesota. Rodeoing is instilled in the O’Bryan family, in fact, they actually live on Rodeo Drive. Their father, Shannon, coached the rodeo team at Lamar Community College for three years and continues to work the team roping circuit. “My dad inspires me,” Braxton said. “When he was younger his parents were not sure if they supported his dream of rodeoing. At the age of 14, he taught himself how to rope and never looked back.”
Their mother, Dawni, barrel raced and breakaway roped growing up and currently teaches elementary P.E. “I rode my mother’s barrel racing horse when I first started,” Bianca said. “It was awesome to learn on the same horse my mom rode.”
Bianca graduated from Lamar High School, and plans on attending Lamar Community College on a rodeo scholarship in the fall. Her future plans include becoming a 3rd grade teacher. While Bianca spent her time balancing school and rodeo, Braxton said he made the decision last fall to enroll in Goal Academy Online School. Online school allowed Braxton more time to focus on rodeoing and helping out his father on the ranch.
They both started rodeoing when they were very young. Bianca said she remembered riding her first horse named Buddy, a Spanish mustang at the age of six. “He helped me gain more confidence.” Braxton rode a pony named Popcorn, who was stubborn and challenging.
“His size helped me become comfortable before I began riding my bigger horse, Ace,” Braxton said. Braxton began riding Ace when he was six. “We recently had to put Ace down, he was 36 years old.” The siblings started competing in the National Little Britches Rodeo Association when they were 12 and 10 years old, joined the Colorado Junior Rodeo Association, and then started competing with the Colorado High School Rodeo Association.
Bianca competes in barrel racing, breakaway roping, and pole bending. She gained her confidence riding her horse, Superstar in the barrel racing contest at the 2019 Colorado State High School Finals. “Even though I fell short of qualifying for nationals last year, putting together two great runs were a huge step forward for me and motivated me to continue working hard.” While Bianca focuses on her passion for barrel racing, Braxton competes in team roping, calf roping, and bulldogging. His favorite healing horse, Big Sugar Daddy, was named the ‘Horse of the Year’ in the CJRA in 2015,” Braxton said.
Bianca and Braxton enjoy having each other around while practicing and competing in rodeos. Braxton said they enjoy giving helpful ‘tips’ to each other when practicing. Braxton knows to let Bianca have time to herself before her barrel racing run. Bianca said it is great having a sibling who supports her during a good or bad run. “Braxton is always there for me,” Bianca said. “He makes me laugh, except when we are stuck in a pickup together for hours.” During their spare time from rodeoing, the O’Bryan siblings exhibit market steers at their county fairs and play sports. Braxton and Bianca said they are thankful to have a family that loves them and a God that loves them. They wanted to thank the Colorado High School Rodeo Association for putting on class-act rodeos and providing them an opportunity to form lifelong friendships. “We love how the association runs the rodeos. The late nights spent with friends are made for great memories.”