story by Michele Toberer Emma Arndt’s number one goal is to make it to national finals next summer, when the top 4 rodeo athletes in […]
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Meet the Member Lily Henderson
story by Lily Weinacht
Lily Henderson of Meriden, Kansas, is leading the KJHSRA girls all-around standings by more than 800 points as state finals approaches. The 14-year-old is sitting in the top 5 in all of the girls events, including team roping and ribbon roping with Kent Berkenmeier. The friends qualified for the 2018 NJHFR in team roping and finished 10th in the nation, while Lily also competed there in the barrel racing. She also enjoys competing in jackpots and the CYRA, and has won three all-around saddles in the association.
She’s grown up on horseback, entering horse shows until she found her niche in rodeo when she was 8. “As a family, we like to team rope and barrel race together,” says Lily. She and her 11-year-old sister, Lucy, who also competes in the KJHSRA, travel to rodeos with their parents, Dirk and Julie Henderson. The family also spends many hours together at home in the practice pen, and often have friends over to rope with. Lily’s roping partner, Kent, comes at least once a week to practice with her. “There’s a lot of sacrifices involved in rodeo, but I just enjoy it. There’s a lot of competition, and there’s not very many people that rodeo, so I find that interesting,” says Lily. “Last year for Junior High National Finals we traveled to South Dakota, and that was pretty fun. I met a lot of new people.
Lily’s rodeo family includes her friends the Domer family, Vanpatton family, Baker family, and Jeanne Anderson. “They’ve helped me a lot ever since I started and brought me a long ways in barrels and poles and team roping,” Lily explains. “My favorites are probably team roping and barrel racing. My partner and I placed 10th at nationals and ever since we’ve been doing pretty good, so I enjoy that. In barrels, when I first started out it took me a while to click with my horse and we’ve had a lot of rough times, but we’re getting through it and I’m starting to enjoy it.”
Her barrel horse, Frenchy, is 14, and Lily trained him for pole bending as well. Her rope horse, Crazy, is 11. “My dad trained him in heading, but I trained him for everything else. We have about 10 horses and a couple of dogs and cats. We have a small ranch and I mainly help out with the horses, exercising a lot of them and feeding.” When Lily’s not rodeoing, she also enjoys playing guitar, especially country and some pop music. Come summertime, she loves swimming, and is thrilled that her family is building their own pool this year.
Lily is also finishing her eighth-grade year at Jeff West Middle School, where she enjoys all of her classes. “Music would be my favorite. We have a concert coming up, so we’re getting ready for that—I play the saxophone in it,” she says. “I want to be a surgeon when I’m older, so I’m also interested in science. I’m not for sure about doing neurosurgery, but I’m interested in it. Rodeo is my main sport, but I also do the dance team at Jeff West.
“I’m excited for state finals and Nationals,” Lily adds. “State finals is the end of the year, and it’s exciting to see how the points are going to fall, and the activities are fun and getting to see everyone. Right now, me and my partner are hoping to come in strong again for Nationals. I’m hoping when I get older I can keep pursuing rodeo and make some money in it and go to some big rodeos.”