story by Michele Toberer Achieving world champion status is something many cowboys and cowgirls across the country dream of as they are in the practice […]
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Meet the Member Claire Vincent
story by Michele Toberer
For a first-time trip to Rock Springs, Wyoming, Claire Vincent will be packing more than your average girl. She and her parents, Carrie Hollingsworth and Joe Dekeyzer, will be lugging suitcases full of multiple wardrobe changes with all the matching accessories, as she prepares to compete in the 2019 National High School Rodeo Association Queen contest in July, representing her home state of Louisiana. She has come along way from the days as a little girl, when her bulldogging brothers, Clinton Busby, 26, and Cody Busby, 23, would encourage her to jump off her little white pony, Snowflake, onto the steer wrestling dummy while they practiced. Claire’s excited to be riding a beautiful bay mare named Boon at nationals in the intricate horsemanship competitions, “Boon is owned by Charlie Little and is really fun to ride because she’s so quick on her feet. I love the horsemanship portion of the competition because it shows the capability of rodeo queens as riders.”
Starting out, Carrie entered her daughter in pageants to help her overcome her shyness. “They wanted to help me do something to get more comfortable talking to people, and now I won’t shut up! I really enjoy the interview portion of the competition because it gives you a chance to connect to the judges.” Since her 10-year-old debut, Claire has been the 2014 NLBRA Princess, 2016 Cal-Cam Fair Teen Miss, 2018 Calcasieu High School Rodeo Queen, and 2019 Louisiana High School Rodeo Association Queen. “I’m excited to be the representative for LHSRA, which I’ve been a member of since 6th grade. We just received the schedule for the competition at nationals, and it’s a long, busy week. I don’t know when I’m even going to have time to sleep! But I’m so honored to be an ambassador and spokesperson for LHSRA, and it really helps support rodeo and the western way of life.”
Born and raised in Sulphur, Louisiana, Claire is a 16-year-old, homeschooled rising junior. She loves English, and reading the classics, and sees herself attending McNeese State University to get a degree in psychology in the future. She’s grown up surrounded by rodeo; her mom, a teacher, has had horses her whole life and has raised Claire and her brothers in the rodeo arena. Claire went to national finals in Lebanon, Tennessee as an 8th grader in ribbon roping after winning the 2017 LJHSRA Champion Ribbon Roper title with partner, Dominic Brussard. She’s competed in goat tying and breakaway roping in high school and finished the 2019 season in 8th in the average in goat tying.
“When I was little, I went to rodeos every weekend to watch my brothers. My brothers really like that I compete in rodeo, and at first, they weren’t too excited when I started competing in queen competitions. But they’re so supportive and now they never miss a pageant. They like the horsemanship part of the competition and they love to scream at me the whole time I’m practicing to help me improve.” Claire also practices goat tying and roping calves in their arena every night. “My dad, Joe, helps me every single day, it’s usually just us and my godfather, Uncle T-boy, or sometimes friends come practice with us.” Joe, who used to ride saddlebronc horses, is a project manager in the chemical industry at A.W.C.
“My favorite event is breakaway roping because it’s a real adrenaline rush, and I love to watch the pros like Jackie Crawford and Lari Dee Guy. They’re opening a whole new avenue for breakaway ropers, and I think pretty soon we’ll be at the NFR.” Claire is grateful to many that have supported her along her path and especially looks up to Kaci Riggs Meyers of Charlie One Horse and Outlaw Spirit. “Kaci has a lot to do with the direction breakaway roping is going also, and she’s been a wonderful sponsor to me. One day, I’d like to be a sales rep for Charlie One Horse.” Claire is also very thankful to LHSRA Secretary, Stephanie Rodrigue and her husband, Nikkie Rodrigue, “They do so much for all of us and LHSRA is great because of them. I look forward to representing the association in July.”