Meet the Member Trysten Rawls
story by Lindsay Humphrey All four Rawls boys essentially live and breathe team roping, day and night. At the helm of that passion is Trysten, […]
story by Lindsay King
The gate swings open and the flank strap pulls tight to give the cowboy the ride of a lifetime. Though this is not about that cowboy, its about the girl on the end of the flank strap: Kaitlyn Ramer from Sulphur, Oklahoma. The 17-year-old OHSRA cowgirl regularly pulls the flank for both the bulls and broncs at high school rodeos. “My family owns Rockin’ R Rodeo Company and provides a lot of the animals for the rough stock events that I compete in,” said the long-time header, cutter and breakaway roper. “My dad, Chad, is gone a lot so flanking usually falls on me. I have placed at a couple futurities flanking on our stock. It is a lot of fun.”
Heading into her senior year of rodeo, Kaitlyn has roped all her life but only started cutting her freshman year. “My grandpa used to train cutting horses, so he was pretty gunho about me doing it. It is fun to ride a horse that he trained.” Her dad’s side of the family continues to perpetuate the family name through the sport, with grandparents, uncles and cousins all practicing together with Kaitlyn day in and out. Krisit’s, her mom, side of the family was not at all involved with rodeo before Chad came along. “When they got married she started going with him to team ropings. And since my dad hauls to bull ridings so much, she had to step up and learn because we always had a rodeo at the same time as my dad.” Her siblings, Kiley, 20, and Kabrie, 12, are both avid competitors as well.
It was during her eighth grade season that Kaitlyn learned what she was truly made of. “I went into this huge slump with my roping, I struggled every single day. I would catch every animal at practice and then go to a rodeo and come up empty every time.” Nearly two years’ worth of blood, sweat and tears later, Kaitlyn finally found herself on the other side of the slump. Maybe it had something to do with her rodeo role model Jackie Crawford. “I look up to her for many reasons. First off, she ropes really well, but secondly her story is amazing. I think it is very unique that she did not grow up roping and she just kind of started and now look at how good she is.” Though roping has been the bigger challenge for Kaitlyn, cutting is definitely her favorite of the three events.
The reserve state champion cutter in 2017 came back this year to win the title by a mere 13 points. “Going into the finals it was close between me and another girl. We both made three solid runs. It was nerve racking because there were maybe five points separating us going into the final round. I knew I could do it and I knew my horse could do it, I just had to stay calm so that we could do it together.” No stranger to the national arena, Kaitlyn took a trip up there in the tenth grade in fourth place for ribbon roping and finished in the top 20 in cutting.
Gone every weekend for something to do with rodeo leaves little time for hobbies. Though Kaitlyn doesn’t notice since all her friends are out on the rodeo road with her. “Everyone is so nice and helpful in the OHSRA. They are always very encouraging and make me a lot better of a competitor.” This drive to be better is what Kaitlyn hopes to take with her as she works toward making the semi-finals of the American now that they added breakaway roping. After placing well at the IFYR and NHSFR, Kaitlyn is set up for a strong senior season.
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