story by Ruth Nicolaus Out of about 1,200 students at Loveland (Colo.) High School, Colton Clymer is the only one he knows that competes in […]
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Meet the Member: Kylee Spencer
By Lily Weinacht
Kylee Spencer of Ulysses, Kan., was first inspired to rodeo by her family, but as she’s grown older, the 17 year old has come to love the sport not only for its family traditions, but as a channel for her competitive nature. “When my sister, Josey, and I were little, we worked on the ranch with our parents (Shaun and Dawn Spencer) and came to town on Wednesdays to compete in the Bad Girl Barrel Club in Gunnison (Colo.),” says Kylee, who now competes in the CSHSRA in barrel racing and pole bending. “I always came in second behind my sister. My competitiveness finally got better, and when we started high school rodeo, I finally beat her! Now I like to compete against myself,” she says. “If there’s a girl who runs a 19.8 and I run 20 flat, I’m good with that, as long as I’m doing better and gaining ground.” Pole bending is currently her favorite event, and she says, “My pole horse can turn really well, and even though she’s older and not as fast, she can turn tight and make up the time.”
While Kylee’s mom grew up rodeoing, both of Kylee’s parents and their positive attitudes inspire her to compete. “I look up to them because they may have a job to do or somewhere they have to go that isn’t their first choice, but they don’t give up because of that, and that has really influenced me.” The Spencers moved around Colorado when Kylee was younger, but now they make their home in Ulysses, Kan. Josey, 18, is a freshman at West Texas A&M, leaving Kylee in charge of the horses. “My main rodeo horse is Sissy – she’s 19 this year, and she’s been my horse since I was four,” says Kylee. “She’s always been there, and let me do all kinds of things with her as a little kid.” The Spencer farm is also home to nine more horses, two dogs, and three cats. When Kylee wants to practice, she heads over to her grandparents’ house 12 miles away.
A senior this year at Lakin High School, Kylee particularly enjoys art class. “I like getting my creative thoughts out,” she says. “I’ll go around for a day or two with all these thoughts, and I finally get to put them on paper, and people can see what I’m thinking and feeling without me even talking. I like painting and drawing, which I alternate between depending on my idea.” Kylee admits that she will miss the normalcy of high school, but one of her favorite parts of the summer was travelling with her family through Nebraska, South Dakota, and Montana, to look at colleges. “I really liked Rocky Mountain College in Montana,” says Kylee.
In her spare time, Kylee enjoys reading, particularly teen fantasy, as well as sketching and watching Supernatural, her current favorite TV show on Netflix. For the last seven years, she has also been a goalie or out player on the Dodge City hockey team. “Our season goes from the end of August to March, but after December we usually don’t have ice, so we’ll do dry runs,” she explains.
Jumping into her final year with the CSHSRA, one of Kylee’s goals is to have as many clean pole runs as possible. And having qualified for the NHSFR her freshman and sophomore year, she is determined to finish her final season of high school rodeo with a trip to Rock Springs, Wyo.