story by Lindsay Humphrey Quite literally born into rodeo, Brinklee Blanton arrived during her dad’s final college rodeo. “My mom (Kelsie) was already at the […]
Association MemberJoin Rodeo News
Meet the Member Gracie Snyder
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Hailing from Hendrix, Oklahoma, Gracie Snyder is a force to be reckoned with in the OKJHSRA. This seventh grader hit the spring season leading the ribbon roping with her partner, Briar White. She’s also leading the goat tying, sitting second in the pole bending and holding comfortable positions in the top ten in both barrel racing and breakaway roping. The 13-year-old is simply following up her rookie season with an even better one. But the humble cowgirl simply puts her nose to the grindstone at home and watches everything play out inside the arena.
“Last year was my first time to nationals and I went in the poles after winning the average at state finals,” she said. “I was less than two points away from qualifying in the goat tying.” During the first round of nationals, Gracie laid down a smoking hot run of 20.7 which was enough to take first for the day. “I knew after the first round that I needed to push it in the second if I wanted to make it to the short round. I barely grazed a pole to a run a 20.0. It as an amazing experience regardless. It was cool to see the country on the drive up to Iowa and to hang out with everyone there.” Traveling is one of Gracie’s favorite activities, even though she hasn’t ventured too far outside of her home state.
“I’ve been to Kansas a few times; saw the ocean in Texas and skied in New Mexico, but I really do love traveling in Oklahoma. My favorite place is the Chickasha area. The people are so nice, the land is pretty, and the weather is just perfect up there.” So much time on the road is made possible by homeschooling through Epic Charter Schools. That switch happened when Gracie was starting fourth grade in 2019. “It fits my lifestyle really well. I try to finish all my work Monday through Friday. That allows me to ride more and to help my parents out at home.”
Her parents, Caryn and TW, raise cattle, which means there’s always plenty to be done at home. Caryn also spends a significant amount of time training horses, which ultimately introduced Gracie and her 19-year-old sister, Calli, to rodeo in the first place. “My dad and brother (Clancy, 16) like hunting and fishing, but I was never interested in that. I didn’t have the patience for it, but I have it for horses. I’ve always loved messing with horses and the challenge that comes with that.” It’s clear Gracie has risen to that challenge on several occasions as she’s not only been a successful competitor, but those victories have come on horses she’s helped train.
“All of my horses were mostly barrel horses that my mom raised and trained. When my mom wasn’t around, she didn’t want me working on barrels without her, but she said I could practice on the poles.” Because she’s spent so much time weaving through poles, Gracie has developed a knack for it and fallen in love with the event in the process. If it wasn’t for Callie’s initial interest in rodeo, Gracie might never have found her way to the OKJHSRA. “My mom and sister were going to a bunch of barrel races and then my sister wanted to start roping and go to rodeos. I decided that if she was going to rodeo, I wanted to also.” That was back in 2017. The year prior, Gracie started riding a horse that would serve as the foundation of her rodeo career: Focus. “My mom had Focus going on the barrels and then my sister started riding her, but they didn’t mesh.”