Meet the Member Eli Woodyard
story by Jet Toberer Second-generation team roper, Eli Woodyard, of small town Max Meadows, Virginia, has been roping since he was 8 years old, and […]
story by Magie Downare-Nevius
Two-time finals qualifier, Olivia Townsend, is climbing to the top of the JrSRA leader board in three separate events within the senior girl’s age division. Competing in the breakaway roping, pole bending and team roping, the 15-year-old cowgirl has put hard work and dedication to the test and is proving that it all pays off in her fourth year with the organization. “Olivia is an all-around cowgirl, but breakaway roping is her passion and she just really meshes well with her horse,” mom said. Finishing last year in the middle of the pack, Olivia has matched her standing spots and is shooting for a breakaway year-end title. “Her competition level has really come up and she is doing so well,” mom said.
Bobbling at the beginning of last year, Olivia turned the tables to wow competitors and spectators alike, as the former barrel racing competitor dove to elite status within the North Carolina High School Rodeo Association (NCHSRA) Junior High Division, after a double horse exchange, and qualified for Nationals as a tri-event contender. “It was really quite remarkable, since she had only had a strong chance for half of the season,” mom said. “She had been under-mounted for the past few years, but is definitely mounted to match her abilities now, which has upped her game and she is doing really well.” Taking to her roping events on an 11-year-old sorrel mare (Big Fat Fanny, a.k.a. “Fanny” or “BFF”), Olivia has ascended to a current second place seed in the NCHSRA breakaway standings and seventh in the heeling ranks. “We bought Fanny last August and she and Olivia have really found chemistry together,” mom said. At the same time, Olivia has taken a top-10 position in the pole bending on her 23-year-old sorrel mare (Haley), whom she has had for a little over a year. “Haley doesn’t look her age and is in awesome shape. She has the attitude to get it done and is one bad cat when competing. She is really quite amazing and we‘re hoping for a strong comeback,” mom said. Olivia’s progression has brought her to sitting third in the all-around standings, but is leading the Rookie all-around standings. “Olivia would like to do well at the state finals and make Nationals her freshman year, along with winning the Rookie all-around,” mom said.
As a first generation competitor, Olivia’s foundation started with her miniature pony (Tommy) at 2 years old. “She didn’t play with baby dolls, but with horses when she was little. That love for horses, that she’s always had, just keeps growing,” mom said. While her mom (Lorie) grew up riding and later taught beginner riding lessons, Olivia was surrounded with equine and continued to fall in love to start competing in gymkhanas and helped her mom with lessons, when age allowed. “Her Aunt Teresa is a former roper and got Olivia into it and the sport has just been her passion ever since,” Lorie said.
Attending public school up until this year, the freshman decided to put her social aspects and extracurricular sports (volleyball and track) aside to home school with Omni Academy to fit her rodeo schedule. “It was the best decision that we’ve ever made. Olivia is a great student and loves being at home. It allows for more practice time, which has been a huge help,” Lorie said.
Aiming for a future as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, specializing in equine, Olivia will spend the summer working as an intern for a vet clinic. The Ashe County resident gets her background knowledge from her parents. As Lorie is a livestock specialist for the N.C. Department of Agriculture, her dad (Joe) is a personal farmer, raising and selling an average of 2, 000 round bales per year and caring for approximately 100 head of cattle. “Joe grew up with horses, but is more of an equipment man and also has a track hoe and dump truck business,“ Lorie explained. Helping her parents goes hand-in-hand with her involvement as the Vice President of the Junior Alleghany Cattlemen’s Association.
Rodeo Newstm (ISSN 1934-5224) is published 12 times a year, semi-monthly May-Nov; once in Dec Jan, Feb., March, and April by Publication Printers, 2001 S. Platte River Drive, Denver, Colo., 80223. Iris Ink, Inc., parent company of Rodeo News is located at 3604 WCR 54G, Laporte, Colo., 80535. Subscriptions are $30 per year. Periodicals postage paid at LaPorte, Colo., and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Rodeo News, PO Box 842, LaPorte, Colo., 80535.
Canada Post (CPC) publication #40798037. Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without permission. Rodeo News carries advertising and editorials as a service to the readers. However, publication of advertisements and editorials in Rodeo News does not commit Rodeo News to agree with or guarantee any of the merchandise or livestock advertised.