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Meet the Member Hannah Hughes
story by Lily Weinacht
Hannah Hughes led the breakaway roping standings for much of her senior year in the KHSRA, and held on to the lead through state finals to clinch her very first state title. The 18-year-old from Fort Scott, Kansas, roped all three of her calves at state finals, but didn’t tally her points until after the short round. “I had a pretty good feeling but I didn’t know for sure until after the short round that I had won the state title.”
Riding high on her success at state, Hannah entered her first NHSFR with a calm confidence that carried her all the way to the short round and put her fourth in the nation. “Making the short round was a big accomplishment for my first year out there, and ending up where I did was a high point while I was in Rock Springs,” says Hannah, who roped a 2.89 in the short round. “It was a fun rodeo. There were a bunch of girls there that I’ve gotten to know from going to big ropings, so it was cool to rodeo with them.”
Over the summer, Hannah is competing in Cody Ohl and Joe Beaver ropings, as well as Rising Stars and Future Stars Calf Ropings. She also run barrels and ties goats, but breakaway is her main focus. “It’s an adrenaline rush because today you have to be so fast, and you and your horse have to be spot-on in order to be that fast. The sport of breakaway is getting so big now that I think it’s a good sport to keep going with. I just love the atmosphere of rodeo,” she adds. “You meet people from all over. In the rodeo industry I feel like everybody is so friendly, and it’s good competition.”
Hannah’s parents, Rod and Donna, both rodeoed and inspired Hannah to compete from a young age, while family friends Greg and Sherri Gentry, along with many others, have also helped further her rodeo career.
She ropes the dummy daily and ropes calves at least three times a week. “The horse that I rope on we call Effie, but her name is Frenchmans Effort. She’s a sorrel 20-year-old quarter horse we’ve had for five or six years. She came from Rick and Dayna Branch and it took us a few years to click, but it’s been good since then. I have a 20-year-old black AQHA horse, Rocket (RH American Rocket), and he’s my barrel and goat horse. He’s also a practice horse for breakaway, so he kind of does it all.”
Hannah is attending Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College on a rodeo scholarship. She graduated from Manhattan Virtual Academy, and plans to compete on the college rodeo team in all three of her events. She’s also working toward her equine management degree and hopes to use that for equine therapy. “I’m very thankful I finished first at state finals, and when I came out of Nationals sitting fourth, I was very thankful. My success at the high school level has been the boost I needed and I’m ready for college rodeo,” she finishes.