story by BreAnne Benson The first time Riley Isbell competed in barrel racing was in Waco, Texas. She was in pre-school, on her first pony […]
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Meet the Member Hadlee Landers
story by Lindsay Humphrey
At just 8 years old, performing on a national stage is nothing new for Hadlee Landers from Lawton, Oklahoma. She’s the second oldest of four girls: Madyson, 14, Conner Kay, 4, and Charli Jo, 1. Their parents, Clayton and Dacia, haul the entire family all over the country for rodeos and jackpots alike. “Anytime Clayton and I can haul these girls to a rodeo is a win for us,” said Hadlee’s mom. “It’s a total victory as a parent to one, be able to haul them, two to have these horses that we’re blessed with and then three to get to do it all together.” Even though the youngest sister is just over one, she’s already swinging in the saddle anytime one of her siblings will allow it.
While supportive parents, competitive sisters and a strong string of mounts are essential for Hadlee, it’s the fun she has running the clover leaf pattern that she credits most for her success. “The goal of any run is to win of course, but the life goal is to make sure it always stays fun and that they enjoy themselves no matter what happens when they come back down the alley,” Dacia said. “One thing that Clayton does with Hadlee, and the other girls too, is he reminds them that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them and that they need to have fun out there. That’s their thing in the alley before every run.”
The fun all kicked off last December when Hadlee brought home almost $20,000 after winning the 3D and multiple rounds at the All In Barrel Race in Vegas. After that, she knew the Junior World Finals and Vegas’ Tuffest were on the list for 2022. “Hadlee has big goals for herself. We rodeo all year long, but Vegas is always her top priority. Especially coming off that big win from last year.” Hadlee made her qualifying run at a KK event in Guthrie, Oklahoma, during the Lance Graves International Barrel Race this past summer. She’s headed to Vegas with her heart horse, Bam, in the junior barrels for her first ever Junior World Finals.
This team got together a year ago, but it took about six months for Hadlee to warm up to him. “He was a lot of horse for her to move up to. He’s powerful and he leaves that first barrel strong and tight. He was a pasture ornament until one day Hadlee decided she was going to start riding him. After that, they got things figured out pretty quick.” The 13-year-old gelding is just one of Hadlee’s seven mounts she uses for barrels, poles, goats and breakaway roping in the HOYRA, NWOJRA and any other rodeo or event she might enter. “She’s pretty proud of her string, but Bam is her baby. He’s pretty quirky, but the good ones always are.” Hadlee’s looking forward to running bam in Vegas but will have a few back ups on hand just to be safe.
It’s not unusual for Hadlee and her sisters to be running against some of the top names in the business. That was the case while in Hamilton, Texas, this summer when they were qualifying for Vegas’ Tuffest. “When the girls can take their time and run against those ladies, they are learning a lot. We spent a lot of time at jackpots this summer with those top girls and Hadlee really enjoyed that.” Hauling to and competing at a rodeo is more than just a hobby for the entire family, it’s where many of their favorite memories are being forged. “We haul to rodeos for vacations because that’s what they enjoy. It’s just the best way to grow your family; right there next to the rodeo arena.”