story by Michele Toberer Anna Jae Griffin goes by AJae, and the Mississippi native has been a cowgirl for a lifetime, and a Southeastern Professional […]
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Meet the Member Emily Hedrick
story by Michele Toberer
“When I was little, I told my mom I either wanted to be a famous singer or a trick rider, thank goodness the singing didn’t work out!” Seventeen-year-old Emily Hedrick started riding horses before she could even walk, and trick riding and barrel racing since she was just six years old. The Madisonville, Tennessee high school junior is homeschooled through the Homelife Academy, and has grown up trick riding with her brother, Justin Hedrick, 19. They were the 2015 SPRA Specialty Act of the Year. Their parents, Danny and Jessica Hedrick met at a rodeo where they were both rodeo competitors; Danny a bareback rider and Jessica a barrel racer, and they have been happy to raise their children in the rodeo lifestyle. The family owns Hedrick Rodeo Company, where they produce many Southeast Professional Rodeo Association, and IPRA rodeos, among others. Danny runs the rodeo company full-time and Jessica is a chiropractor. “My mom is a huge role model, and I’d like to follow in her footsteps and become a chiropractor also. After high school I want to attend a chiropractic college, Life University, in Marietta, Georgia. I’d ultimately like to have a large animal rehabilitation and wellness facility.”
Emily competes as a barrel racer in the SPRA, NCPRA, and the Georgia High School Rodeo Association. “I’ve also really enjoyed competing in rodeo queen competitions. In 2017, my freshman year, I was the GHSRA Rodeo Queen and placed 13th out of 42 girls at national finals. In 2018 I was the Teen Mid-South Rodeo Queen, and I’m currently the 2019 Senior Mis West Point Rodeo Queen.” Emily appreciates the way her queen duties have helped her become a better public speaker and raised her self-confidence. Her goal is to become the 2019 GHSRA queen so that she can compete for the national title this July in Gillette, Wyoming.
“My parents have always supported me no matter what I wanted to do. They have found me the best instructors and helped me get the best horses.” Emily qualified for her first SPRA finals this past season, riding a grey mare, Runaway With Miss, that she calls Lena. She bought her from Marne Loosenort last June. Since she only rode her part of the season, qualifying for the finals very rewarding. “We learned a lot and had all clean runs at finals, so I was super thankful for that.” Emily is now working with RU Ready to Design (Mia), a sorrel mare she recently purchased from Marne, that was trained by Craig Brooks.
“The power of positive thinking is an incredible aspect of rodeo, it’s a huge mental game. My boyfriend, Jesse Troyer, has helped me so much with my mental game; giving me books to read and helping me understand how important it is to envision runs you want to have.” Emily is grateful to spend a lot of time on the road with her mom as they travel to rodeos. “Danielle Barron, a chiropractor that recently moved from Texas to work with my mom, also hauls with us often. We are all a great support system for each other. We always say we would be happy to take second or third place to each other, to see one of us win it.”
With a busy household and rodeo schedule, there’s not much time left for hobbies. “My mom is busy at work, and dad with the rodeo company so we divide up some of the ranch chores. My dad and Justin oversee all the roughstock animals, and I’m usually in charge of the barn and riding horses. We have plenty to take care of, we’re not horse-poor, that’s for sure!”
“I am so thankful to my parents for supporting my dreams 100-percent. They are always there and want the best for me. I feel God blessed me with the talent I have, so through using that talent I can show how amazing God is, and what you can do with His help. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”