Meet the Member: Grayce Baxter
Story by Riata Cummings Grayce Baxter is a rodeo athlete and senior at Lehi High School. She enjoys “all things medical” and is currently taking […]
story by Riata Cummings
Kinlee Wooden is a 17-year-old cowgirl from the small town of South Weber, Utah. She is a senior at North Ridge High School, where her favorite classes include history and physical education. Some of Kinlee’s hobbies include boating, crossfit, iced coffee runs, and spending time with her friends. It was thanks to one of those friends that Kinlee got into rodeo. Kinlee had competed in rodeo queening before, but it wasn’t until Courtney Halverson told her about the thrills of barrel racing that Kinlee really fell in love with the sport.
Today, Kinlee competes in the barrel racing and pole bending, with pole bending being her favorite. She loves the added challenge of more obstacles, and feels that it requires a higher level of rider to be a competitive pole bender. Rodeo has taught Kinlee to be patient with herself and her horses, because at the end of the day it’s the experience that matters. She knows that no amount of hard work will prevent off days, but it is only through the hard work that one finds success. She’s learned that having a positive attitude and a resilient spirit helps rodeo contestants through the hard days and bad runs. Kinlee competes on three mares, Georgia, Jessie, and Roxy. Her favorite is Georgia, a short but reliable horse who always runs her heart out. Kinlee has had the mare for five years, and trained both her and Roxy.
So far, Kinlee’s favorite rodeos have been the Dixie 6’s, a series of high school rodeo’s hosted in southern Utah every fall. She feels that a combination of the environment and the arena setup helps her and her horses lay down some of their best runs there. Kinlee once borrowed a saddle from a friend there, and by the end of her pole run the saddle was on her horses side and Kinlee was in the dirt. Luckily, no one got hurt and everyone got a good laugh. Kinlee feels that rodeo is different from other sports, the focus being on the individual and their animal. It is all about the connection between man and beast, a connection that can only be formed through hours of practice and work. This year, Kinlee would like to qualify for the state finals in both the pole bending and barrel racing. She would also like to compete at the Silver State International Rodeo.
Kinlee has quite a few siblings; Kristy, Kayla, Braken, Bailee, McKell, and Easton. Her father is Wes Wooden who is married to Megan. Her mother is Becky Eilertson, married to Doug. Kinlee enjoys spending time with her family on boating trips or 4th of July cabin outings. Kinlee’s hero is her father, who, despite being foreign to rodeo, has helped and supported Kinlee through it all. The time they spend together on the rodeo road has become invaluable to Kinlee and she considers her dad one of her best friends.
In the future, Kinlee would like to attend Utah State University and compete on their rodeo team. She would like to train horses and continue rodeoing for as long as she can. She lives by the saying, “keep your head up,” knowing the value of a positive attitude and a smile. She would advise rodeo contestants to trust themselves, trust their horses, and love the sport.
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