story by Ruth Nicolaus Rylee Legg is a strong proponent for high school rodeo. The Kenesaw, Neb. cowgirl, in her second and final year as […]
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Meet the Member: Isabelle Ritz
By Ruth Nicolaus
The 18-year-old cowgirl who lives five miles east of Comstock, Neb., competes in the barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, and reined cow horse. Of all her events, poles are her favorite, mostly because of the horse she rides. Badger, an eight year old halter bred, is “a horse I bought and trained myself,” she said. “It’s fulfilling when we do well.” When she purchased Badger, the family wasn’t sure he’d be much of a rodeo prospect, even though they thought he would be fast. They first thought he would be a barrel horse, and he does work well in big pens or mud, but poles is his niche. He has a lot of personality. “He’s a lot of horse. He takes a lot of patience. You can’t get on him and tell him what to do. It’s a lot of compromise to ride him, and he’s taught me a lot about patience and how to make it work with what you have.”
Isabelle got her start in queening as a freshman, when she finished as runner-up in the state title. Her friend had suggested that she try it, and “I figured out I loved it and could do well at it,” she said. She ran again her second year, partly as a practice, and finished as runner-up again, and last summer, she won the title. Her favorite part of the pageant is the horsemanship competition, but she loves the speech as well and doesn’t get stage fright. “I like giving speeches.”
Isabelle loves hanging out with her friends at Calamus Reservoir and along the Middle Loup River. They often tube, kneeboard, or swim, but she also loves to just hang out on the beach.
She is a senior at Ord High School, where she is a member of the National Honor Society, One Acts, Speech, FFA, and her church youth group, and is on her school’s Academic Honor Roll. This spring was her fourth time to qualify for state FFA in ag sales. She also competed at state speech contest in the oral interpretation of drama. She is president of the RKD 4-H Club, where she will show steers, horses and possibly pigs this summer.
This fall, she plans on attending Oklahoma State University and studying animal science. She’d like to pursue a career in livestock pharmaceutical sales.
She has competed at state finals all three years of her high school career, and at the National High School Finals last year, she won the horsemanship part of the queen contest, and got seventh overall.
Isabelle has two older sisters, Brandy and Kela, an older brother, Sawyer, and a younger sister, Morgan.
She is the daughter of Sterling and Deborah Ritz.