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Meet the Member Katie Schlang
story by Michele Toberer
It was quite ironic that at 8-years-old, Katie Schlang found her very first horse, a little white and roan paint named Denver, after moving to Lake Charles Louisiana from a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Denver, a jumper pony that was full of personality, was a promise-fulfilled from Katie’s architect father, Mark, who moved his family to Louisiana to be with him as he worked on the completion of the Golden Nugget Hotel project he was there overseeing. Katie’s mom, Jodi, and her older brother Mason, as well as younger brother A.J. all made the move, and have experienced quite a lifestyle change since being here. The Schlang family has been very involved in competitive swimming, and although Katie tried it for a period, equestrian dreams filled her mind. “Once I was in Louisiana I went to a friend’s rodeo and saw how fast they go; I had always wanted to go that fast, it looked so exciting and I knew I wanted to rodeo.”
After attempting to run barrels and poles on Denver, it was evident to the family that Katie needed a rodeo horse. A neighbor sold them a bay gelding named Alaska that Katie now uses for goat tying, as she competes in the Louisiana Junior High Rodeo Association. Katie has competed in the LJHSRA since sixth-grade, and now as an Immaculate Conception Cathedral School eighth-grader, she is competing in goat tying, barrel racing and pole bending. Katie runs barrels and poles on her 8-year-old bay gelding, Apache, and although she’s had a hard time getting together with the quick gelding the past two years, she is hopeful that this is the year that her hard work with him pays off. Katie’s mother Jodi, a middle and high school teacher said, “Katie got a perseverance award last year in the Jeff Davis Rider’s Club; they said most people would have sold him by now, they have been hit and miss up until now, either a great run, or a terrible run, but Katie is a more mature rider, is stronger, and has really worked to step-up her riding with him, it’s been fun watching them grow together.” The first LJHSRA rodeo of the 2018/2019 season, Katie placed in barrel racing and goat tying, and she is grateful to be on her way to reaching her goal of qualifying for national finals in all three events.
Last year, Katie qualified for national finals in her favorite event, goat tying, and placed sixth in the second round, with an 8.07 second run, her fastest time ever. She is very grateful to her goat tying coach, Charlene Carson for all of the help she’s given her. “She has helped me so much not just with goat tying, but with life lessons, she has been a huge blessing,” said Katie. Charlene leads a long line of national qualifiers and winners in her family and is grandmother to Kaylee Cormier who was the 2018 International Finals Youth Rodeo Goat Tying Champion. “I really admire Kaylee, we both tie the same way, and I pay attention to everything she does.”
With great organization skills, Katie is dedicated to practice and rodeos while she maintains straight A grades, favoring math over all of her subjects. She is very active at her school, playing volleyball and basketball the past two years, and is looking forward to basketball season starting at ICCS this year. She is a member, and was recently elected as secretary, of the school’s Beta club. Katie also participates in the local 4-H horse club. After high school, she would like to college rodeo while studying to become a large animal veterinarian.
Katie has enjoyed being a member of the LJHSRA because of the many rodeo friends that she’s made that have become like a rodeo family to her. She looks forward to a great year in LJHSRA, before going on to join the high school ranks next year.