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Meet the Member Blake Weekley
story by Lindsey Fancher
Despite the two compression fractures in 11-year-old cowgirl Blake Weekley’s back, the incoming sixth grader from Boerne, Texas still manages to bring home the buckles. The cause of Blake’s fractures is relatively unknown, although the hunch is that they developed over time from either getting bucked off at rodeo practice or getting bucked off her trampoline. Her mom, Andrea, owns the Agave Wellness yoga studio in Boerne. It is because of her mom’s expertise in yoga and her own determination that Blake has been able to continue competing in her events of breakaway roping, barrel racing, pole bending, goat-tying, and ribbon roping. Andrea has been able to provide Blake with strengthening, stretching, and breathing exercises that not only manage her back problems, but also assist with her nerves before competitions. Once her biggest challenge, Blake’s nerves are now a trial she can manage. “My mind game has improved so much in the past year. My tricks are breathing and praying,” comments Blake. Her consistent practice of roping, riding, and yoga has also kept the all-around cowgirl from riding in her back brace. “I can’t ride as well with it on,” she justifies.
To begin rodeoing was obvious for Blake. Her love for horses was passed down from Andrea and Blake’s dad, Mark. Now owner of the All Cat Claims Company, Mark competed in steer tripping, team roping, and was the state champion tie down roper in high school. Andrea also roped in both high school and college in breakaway and team roping. Although he doesn’t rodeo, Blake has an older brother, Brady (20), who loves to golf, and on occasion, drag his little sister out onto the course with him. Blake joined the American Junior Rodeo Association two years ago. “AJ is the best association in Texas,” she gushes, “The buckles are so pretty and it’s a Christian, family environment.” The season for AJRA is coming to a close and Blake is excited for the weeklong finals happening in Streetwater.
With a five-horse team, Blake sometimes practices twice daily to keep herself and her mounts legged up. Blake has two barrel horses, Paris and Beau. Paris, the mare Blake got last Summer, is the one she barrel races on in the AJRA. Gelding, Luigi, weaves the poles, and her mom’s roping horse, Rip, is who she goat ties on. Blake’s intense love for horses is why all five are her favorite, although she is slightly partial to her unique breakaway gelding, Nubs. “I named him Nubs because the tips of his ears are gone. They were bit off by a stallion when he was a Colt,” she explains.
Blake has quite the cavalry to support her. To be an all-around cowgirl and manage so many horses cannot be done alone. Mark and Andrea assist in coaching their daughter. “We don’t have time to rodeo ourselves now,” says Andrea, “We are putting everything we have into Blake.” To add more roping coaches to the list, Blake also has Bret Beach and Lydia Townsend. “Although my parents are my biggest inspiration, my biggest hero is Lydia. I am blessed to have so many in my corner,” she recognizes.
Rodeo is not the only discipline Blake is trying to conquer. She and her mom recently began reining to improve on their horsemanship. Trainer, Todd Martin, is the one instructing the mother-daughter duo. “I feel like I’m learning how to ride at 48,” says Andrea. Blake will be competing in her first AQHA show at the end of the Summer on her reining horse, Stella.
Between reining, rodeo, and caring for every horse, time was once an obstacle for Blake. To accommodate the schedule of a full-time rodeo cowgirl, Blake is starting home school for the sixth grade. This extra time is what will allow Blake to take the steps necessary to achieve her tall goals. “I ran the barrels at the Hooey Junior Patriot, and I want to return,” hopes Blake. Although the AJRA and the Junior Patriot are great steppingstones, Blake’s ultimate dream is to pursue a business degree while competing at the collegiate level in both breakaway and barrels.