story by Lindsay Humphrey Putting a bad run out of your head is a feat every successful rodeo competitor has needed to master to reach […]
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Meet the Member Laney Harryman
story by Lindsay King
Laney Harryman, Tuttle, Oklahoma, is mounted on a gelding handed down through the family that has taught more people rodeo than most could even dream of. She calls him Spook (FastFooted Money). Now 23 years old, Spook took Laney’s cousin to many short rounds at state and national finals rodeos. “He has been a huge part of my rodeo career and taught me everything, he has helped me through so much,” said the 14-year-old, holding back tears about one of the tallest pole horses in the OKJHSRA and NLBRA who clearly holds a special place in her heart. Ciara Stoddard is the beloved cousin who gave Laney the opportunity to rodeo on Spook. “When Ciara graduated, her pole horse was for sale and so we bought him. I was excited about having a horse of this caliber. I figured if Ciara could do well on Spook, then I could to.”
Easily labeled a role model for Laney, Ciara has helped the team get into sync as they enter their final season in the OKJHSRA. She is also a barrel racer, but pole bending is her favorite because of her mount. “My horse and I get along really well. I can focus more in the poles because it is just an entire minute of weaving through the poles without having to anticipate the next barrel or anything else like that.” Laney’s big goal last year was to consistently lay down pole runs in under 21 seconds and to progressively run faster times at each rodeo. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to qualify for NLBRA finals and I managed to do it in both events last year. I am already qualified this year, it helps a lot when I don’t put as much pressure on myself though.”
The NLBRA finals, hosted in Guthrie, Oklahoma, is Laney’s favorite event of the year. Camping out for an entire week with friends from near and far is the best part for Laney, who once considered herself shy but now loves to meet new people. “Since I have already qualified for the NLBRA finals, my next goal for the year is to make it to junior high nationals in both events. It’s pretty hard to do since they only take the top four. I have a new barrel horse (Shock), so I am trying to get in sync with him so we can compete with the top of the pack.” Taking lessons and seeking advice from those who know the sport best are two aspects of Laney’s game plan to accomplishing these lofty goals in 2019.
With her family (parents: Kylie and Jordy, brother: Cale, 9) behind her every step of the way, Laney figured out that rodeo is where her passion truly lies. She showed goats last year but quickly realized she would rather be practicing or traveling down the rodeo road. “I just like the rodeo life way better than the show life.” This doesn’t keep her from competing on the Tuttle FFA livestock judging team. The Tuttle Middle School eighth grader also plays volleyball and runs track. The physical aspect of track, rather than standing on a court, makes this sport her favorite of the two.
With aspirations to become an equine chiropractor and live up in the north where it’s cold, some of Laney’s friends think she is a bit crazy. “I love cold weather, I wish I lived up in South Dakota or Nebraska. Everyone thinks I am crazy because I would rather be cold than hot. Most of my horses are from the north actually.” Laney really enjoys all the snow in Nebraska when visiting family. However, she would not trade all the snow and cold weather in the world for the friends and experience she has garnered from competing in the OKJHSRA. “I love hanging out with my friends at rodeos, I feel like I have met a ton of new people. The border bashes are my favorite though. The competitiveness of the association is great too, it has helped me step up my level of riding and be more aggressive and confident.”