Meet the Member Ty Stevens
story by Ruth Nicolaus Ty Stevens competes in the roping events and the light rifle shooting in the Nebraska Junior High School Rodeo Association. The […]
Story by Ruth Nicolaus
Raylynn Hunt knows how to put in a full day’s work, and she knows how to have fun, too.
The fourteen-year-old cowgirl, a member of the Nebraska Junior High School Rodeo Association, helps her parents, Quirt and Amber Hunt, on the ranch they manage, taking care of 1,200 head of cows and calves, doing anything and everything that needs to be done.
And in the rodeo arena, she competes in the team roping, the breakaway roping, and the barrel racing.
Her barrel horse is a ten-year-old palomino named Goose, who is well-finished and a “really good barrel horse,” she reports. Her breakaway horse is a five-year-old chestnut named Fritzy, who is “perfect,” she said. “He’s a sweetheart. He’s calm in the box and loves his treats. You couldn’t ask for a better horse.”
For the team roping, she rides an eighteen-year-old black mare, Hallie, who will buck a person off if she isn’t warmed up, and Raylynn knows this from experience. Quirt started all of his daughter’s horses.
Raylynn is an eighth grade student at Gordon-Rushville Middle School. The best part of the school day is when she gets to go home! But she does love seeing her friends. She likes social studies class and enjoys her reading teacher, Miss Piper. Miss Piper is a sweetheart, Raylynn says, is calm, and doesn’t get mad easily. She makes reading more enjoyable.
For fun, Raylynn loves going to the rodeos where her dad, a PRCA bullfighter, works. Her favorites are North Platte and the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, where she gets to see all her friends. She’s been attending Denver since she was a baby, so she knows all the rodeo committee members and personnel, which makes it really fun. She hangs out with friends, but with strict instructions from her parents: “we have to glue our butts to the bleachers, so we don’t get stolen,” Raylynn jokes.
Last year, she and her family went on a fun trip, attending the Prescott (Ariz.) Frontier Days. While her dad worked the rodeo, she got to hang out with friends. The family visited the Four Corners and saw wild mustangs on the trip.
She spends her summers on the ranch where her parents work, doing the job of a grown-up: calving, doctoring, pairing out, fixing fence, and more. “It’s long and hot,” she said, but the paychecks make it worth it.
Raylynn’s not a spender; the money she earns goes in the bank. Someday she’d love to buy a horse.
The Hunt household, which includes younger sister Racquel, who is eleven, and brother Truitt, age six, has plenty of pets. The family has two hedgehogs, girls named Delilah and Echo, who will prick you and hiss at you, but they can be petted. They are in cages indoors and eat lettuce and cat food.
The family has six dogs, with one of them named Hooch, whose favorite human is Raylynn. They also have barn cats, who are tame, but go unnamed.
She and her mom plan on doing some breakaway roping this fall and winter at local jackpots. She is riding her mom’s breakaway horse, and has improved her skills, Amber said. Amber is a breakaway roper in the Mid-States Rodeo Association and the WPRA.
Amber loves being with her daughter in the practice pen and at ropings. “I enjoy the time I get with her, in the arena, traveling, and practicing.” Raylynn has a lot of determination, which Amber admires. “Her mind is set on what she wants, and she accomplishes it.”
When she grows up, Raylynn would like to be a veterinarian or EMT and rodeo professionally both as a barrel racer and breakaway roper.
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