Meet the Member Gentry Godbey
story by Ruth Nicolaus Gentry Godbey has a bright, sparkly personality. The cowgirl, a Colorado Junior High School Rodeo member, is upbeat, positive, and a […]
story by Lily Weinacht
Grace Hill believes in not taking rodeo for granted. The 14 year old from Peyton, Colo., has been competing since she was seven, and knows the value of her favorite sport. “I’m motivated to rodeo by the fact that not many people get to compete like they want to. I have the privilege of growing up on a ranch and I should take advantage of it!”
Grace’s dad was a bull rider before he switched to reining cowhorse, later encouraging Grace to choose several events to compete in. “I look up to my dad because he knows so much about horses, and I feel he’s one of the reasons I’ve gotten this far in rodeo,” says Grace. She competes in the CJHSRA barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, goat tying, ribbon roping, and team roping as the heeler, but barrel racing is her favorite. “My barrel horse and I get along really well, and I prefer going fast,” she explains. Grace additionally competes in the NLBRA, and is eager for the adventure of starting high school rodeo next year.
The Hill family – Grace and her parents, Justin and Leslie Hill – live on their ranch outside of Peyton. Grace also has an older brother, Travis, who comes to watch her compete several times in the summer. Grace’s mom runs a marketing business, while her dad trains horses for the family’s business, Cross Lazy H Quarter Horses. “Every horse on our ranch, except for the outside horses, is out of our stud, Cinnabars Lil Lena,” says Grace. “All of the horses are trained as cow horses, and after that, Dad will decide whether to sell them or train them for rodeo. I help him with warming horses up, but he does all the training, including my rodeo horses,” she adds. These include Vegas for barrel racing, Gunner for breakaway roping and team roping, Clementine for pole bending, and Iris for goat tying. The rest of the Hill’s ranch is home to several dogs, cats, goats, and a rabbit, while Grace’s dog, Cedar, travels to all of the rodeos with the family.
Grace competed in the NJHFR in Des Moines, Iowa, for the second time, qualifying this year in breakaway roping, goat tying, and barrel racing. “It’s a fun experience!” says Grace, whose latest goal is qualifying for the NHSFR next year as a freshman. Her favorite rodeo in the CJHSRA, however, is state finals. “I have a longer amount of time to be with my friends, and it’s more serious because it’s the finals.” Grace was also the Colorado Cinch Team Captain for junior high this year.
Since returning home from the nearly 15 hour drive to Nationals, Grace’s summer plans include competing at the NLBFR, and attending several volleyball camps, which is another of her favorite sports. She plays both volleyball and basketball, and is an honor student at The Colorado Springs School where she will be a freshman this fall. “I’m excited for high school, and since my school is really small, I already know everybody, so I’m not nervous.”
Grace says of her goals, “I want to compete at the NHSFR, and then rodeo with the WPRA after I finish college, and make it to the WNFR in barrel racing. My roping partner, Kodey Hoss, and I have every intention of being the first female team ropers there!” Grace also hopes to play college volleyball, and plans to become a doctor and study at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She concludes, “Thanks to my dad for training all my horses – I wouldn’t have as good of horses without him – and to him and my mom for being my number one supporters!”
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