Meet the Member Heath Hammerstrom
story by Riata Cummings Heath Hammerstrom just finished his eighth grade year at Dugway High School where his favorite classes were physical education and history. […]
Story by Riata Cummings
Denim Wilson is the 13-year-old daughter of Dave and Tracina Wilson of Tabiona, Utah. She has a younger brother, Ryker, and together the family enjoys going for four-wheeler rides and camping trips when they aren’t busy at a rodeo.
Denim attends Tabiona High School as an eighth grader, and her favorite subjects are math and science. Like many of the students in the small school, Denim is involved in many extracurricular activities, including basketball and volleyball. However, most of her time is spent on the back of a horse.
Denim’s mother started riding with her when she was a newborn and hasn’t been able to get her off a horse for any length of time since then. When she was just two-years-old, Denim started competing in local kids rodeos on her father’s trusty old mountain horse. Now she competes in the Utah Junior High School Rodeo Association as a barrel racer and pole bender.
The ambitious cowgirl rides three horses, known as Jane, Dazzle and Firefly. Jane, The Goodbye Jane, is a five-year-old mare by The Goodbye Lane that Denim has been training and competing on in the futurity barrel racings. Denim recently took Jane to the Ruby Buckle races in Salina, Utah, and finished second in the open 4D class, winning more that $8,000. Firefly is by VF Red Smash and a pole horse that Denim bought out of Kentucky. Shortly after getting Firefly, the horse became very sick and, after recovering, the horse started balking at the gate. Now, Denim and the mare are working through those setbacks and are starting to clock consistently faster times. Dazzle is a mare by Prime Talent that requires a very different riding style than her other horses, and Denim has been working hard to find compatibility with the horse.
Although Denim loves those horses and is finding success with them, her “all-time favorite” is Radar, a gelding who is consistent and reliable in the barrel pen, and helped Denim become a talented racer. Radar and Denim won several rodeos together last fall, but he is currently out of commission due to breathing problems and a failed tie-back surgery. Although Radar has undergone a few surgeries since Denim and her family found out what was wrong, he is still unable to race. This has been challenging for Denim as she has had to keep competing without her favorite mount. She has had to learn to “develop trusting relationships with other horses” and challenge herself to “be a more versatile rider.” Her mother has helped coach her through the challenges and has always been willing to share horses and support Denim’s dreams.
Denim admires her mother’s giving nature and willing attitude and would like to emulate her kind heart. Denim also looks up to her father for his dedicated and outgoing nature. One day, she would like to be as strong and reliable as both of her parents.
Last year, Denim qualified for the state finals in the barrel racing and has won 19 buckles so far in her career. This season is going well, and Denim has set a goal to finish in the top four competitors in both events to earn a spot at the National Junior High School Finals Rodeo. She practices nearly every day, exercising her horses in and out of the arena and with various activities. She lives by the saying, “Rain or shine, it’s rodeo time.” This quote describes her dedicated nature and desire to succeed despite challenges.
Denim would like to thank her family and rodeo friends for supporting her and encouraging her as she works toward her gold buckle dreams. “Grandpa’s little girl” would also like to thank her grandparents, Leon and Ginger Casper, for “always standing behind me and supporting me.” She is grateful for their influence and dedication, and would simply like to say, “thank you for everything.”
Rodeo Newstm (ISSN 1934-5224) is published 12 times a year, semi-monthly May-Nov; once in Dec Jan, Feb., March, and April by Publication Printers, 2001 S. Platte River Drive, Denver, Colo., 80223. Iris Ink, Inc., parent company of Rodeo News is located at 3604 WCR 54G, Laporte, Colo., 80535. Subscriptions are $30 per year. Periodicals postage paid at LaPorte, Colo., and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Rodeo News, PO Box 842, LaPorte, Colo., 80535.
Canada Post (CPC) publication #40798037. Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without permission. Rodeo News carries advertising and editorials as a service to the readers. However, publication of advertisements and editorials in Rodeo News does not commit Rodeo News to agree with or guarantee any of the merchandise or livestock advertised.