story by Ruth Nicolaus After her first semester of Nebraska Junior High School Rodeo, Charli Coats is loving it. The Juniata, Neb. cowgirl just started […]
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Meet the Member Lillian & Sydney Fletcher
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Sisters Lillian and Sydney Fletcher are members of the Nebraska Junior High School Rodeo Association.
Lillian, who just finished the eighth grade, competes in the barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, ribbon roping (running for Cayson Johnston), and team roping (heading for her sister.)
Sydney, who will be an eighth grade student this fall, is a barrel racer, pole bender, breakaway roper, ribbon roper (running for Jace Rosentreader) and team roper (heeling for her sister).
For the barrels, poles, breakaway and heading, Lillian rides a sixteen-year-old roan mare named Jezebel. Jezebel acts like a typical mare, Lillian said. “She’s cranky and gets mad, and thinks she’s the most important.” For the goat tying, Lillian rides Pumpjack, who is named after world champion steer wrestler Dean Gorsuch’s famous bulldogging horse.
Sydney shares Pumpjack with her sister and uses him for the breakaway and heeling. For the poles and barrels, Sydney rides a nine-year-old chestnut named Gumball.
The girls and their dad put a lot of time into their horses. Their dad starts them and the girls do most of the training on them.
Both girls are headed to the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Huron, S.D., Lilly in the barrels and Sydney in the breakaway. Lilly finished the rodeo season in the top ten in the breakaway and poles and third in the all-around, and Sydney also had a top ten finish in the barrels and poles.
This summer, they can be found at a variety of places: junior rodeos and 4D barrel races, the swimming pool in Arnold, where they live, and on the ranch. They help out with chores, feeding bottle calves in the spring, checking wells and cattle, and feeding the breakaway calves and outside horses their dad takes in to ride.
They’ll have fun this summer, too. They love hanging out with cousins, some who live five miles away and some who are 25 miles away. The Arnold pool is a great hang-out place, and Sydney loves to go to the Brew Bakers shop in Arnold, for iced coffee and baked goods. She says she’s “addicted” to the iced coffee there.
The girls are homeschooled; Lillian loves history class and learning about other countries. Sydney likes science and studying animals, and both of them agree that math is not their favorite.
As for favorites, Lillian loves her mom’s hamburgers, and Sydney prefers her mom’s “really good” beef enchiladas. For dessert, Lillian says her mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies are the best, and Sydney like her mom’s apple pie. Lillian prefers to drink a Cherry Coke to wash it down; Sydney likes Coke.
This summer, Sydney looks forward to getting more colts started. There are a few around the place that need some hours put on them, she said. She loves anything to do with horses.
The most fun Lillian’s had on a trip was when the whole family loaded up, along with six horses, and went to a roping in Elbert, Colo. “We drove for a long ways,” she said, “and it was really pretty when we got there.” The weather was cooler than it had been in Nebraska, and they got to see old friends, too.
Both girls love to read. Lillian’s favorite book is the Bible and she likes reading mysteries. Sydney likes fictions and mysteries and the Dreamhouse Kings series by Robert Liparulo.
When she grows up, Lillian would like to be a horse chiropractor and acupuncturist. Sydney is unsure what she’d like to be when she grows up, but she’d like to continue to rodeo and maybe work on a ranch. The girls have a younger sister, Jimi, who is ten, and a younger brother, Jeb, who is four. They are the daughters of Michael and Amanda Fletcher.