Meet the Member Wes Bray
story by Lily Weinacht Wes Bray clinched his goal for his final season of high school rodeo, finishing in the top 20 in the nation […]
story by Lily Weinacht
“I like rodeo because it’s an independent sport—you have factors like your coaches and horses and travel, but it’s all you,” says Ellie Anderson. “You can’t blame anyone else for your mistakes, and it’s a very self-disciplined sport. When you succeed in it, it’s very rewarding.” The 17-year-old from Meeker, Colorado, is in the middle of her fourth season competing in the WHSRA in breakaway roping and team roping as a header. Her hard work was rewarded last summer when she finished second in the state in breakaway roping, sending her to the NHSFR for the second time. “My first run I broke out to be a 2.3 and my second run, I missed, but I love going to the National competition. It’s the best competition there is. I like how fast breakaway is,” she adds. “It’s super easy because it’s a reaction sport and not necessarily a thinking sport.”
Ellie started rodeoing when she was 10 or 11, a tradition passed down to her and her younger brother by their parents, Travis and Teresa Anderson. “My mom grew up in Minnesota and rodeoed all through high school and was the Minnesota High School Rodeo Queen, and my dad got to rodeo for a few years,” explains Ellie. “The Norell family—Dee and Vicky and their three daughters—have the arena where we practice, and we go there every night in the summer. Their girls are all married or in college and it’s just my brother and I coming over, but they keep it going just for us, and I’m very thankful. I look up to my dad because he’s a father and a coach at the same time. I’m one of those people who’s not afraid to take constructive criticism, and he’s been really helpful with that in my life.”
Her main breakaway horse is a 13-year-old gelding named Dunny, who won state finals in breakaway roping with Ellie’s brother Lane in 2015. “I’ve been roping on him for about two years now and he’s a rockstar. He’s good at everything he does,” says Ellie. “This last spring he got crippled so I didn’t ride him at all, so I rode another horse, Jackie B. He’s come a long way in a couple of months—I breakawayed and team roped on him. Dunny looks pretty good and I’m hoping I’ll be able to take him again.” Ellie has several up-and-coming rope horses she hopes to have ready in time for college rodeo, and she and Lane also enjoy helping local ranchers with their cattle. Lane, 15, competes in the WHSRA in team roping, and he and Ellie rope together at home. They also have a brother Clay, 20, who is attending University of Montana Western.
A senior at Meeker High School, Ellie is working on college applications and scholarships, and has always enjoyed her agriculture classes. She is the school’s FFA chapter president and helps with organizing their events, along with assisting her Ag. teacher. “The reason I enjoy agriculture so much is because I think it has a really promising future and it’s a really important part of our lifestyles,” she says. “I’m planning on going to a two-year college and college rodeoing and figuring out what I want to do, and then I’ll finish my degree at a four-year university. My family and I usually jackpot through the winter, and in the summer we go to some CPRA rodeos.
“One of my biggest goals is to try to win state in breakaway roping this year. I could have had it last year, but I missed my short-round calf. It’s one of my most important goals for sure.”
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