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 […]
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Meet the Member: Rhiannon Snow- JSRAMeet the Member
story by Magie Downare-Nevius
For her second season with the Junior Southern Rodeo Association (JrSRA), Rhiannon Snow will compete within the senior age division in the barrels, poles and start her first year of competition in the breakaway. “I love the competition and fellowship. I just enjoy going and having fun with our rodeo family,” she said. Excited to compete from the roping box, Rhiannon maintains her focus on the whole picture. “I want to try my best and see what happens. I’m just going to go for it,” she said of her season goals.
Last season, Rhiannon was able to wrap up the year as the finals average champion and fourth in the year-end pole bending standings, but says that pole bending is just something additional she does for fun. “Barrels are my favorite. I’ve got a really good horse, we just didn’t get into the groove last year,” she explained. Her 9-year-old barrel horse (“Snoopy“) is a project that she holds dear to her heart. “My dad bought him as a 3-year-old head horse prospect, but I ended up taking him over. I trained him with the help of our family friend, whose name is also Lisa Snow. Her help was greatly appreciated. I am very proud of how far we’ve come together,” she said. “I would really like to carry on in the barrel racing, which is something that I can do for the rest of my life.”
Rhiannon’s parents (Lisa and Kevin) are both hobby team ropers, where they competed in the USTRC, METRA and jackpots. Their careers took them down a long path of accomplishments, along with Kevin winning a truck in 2008, but the couple decided to hang their ropes up in 2009. “I always enjoyed going with my parents. It’s just a part of how much I love the atmosphere,” said Rhiannon. Although the 14-year-old cowgirl has been raised around the arena and says she was riding her first horse at the age of two, her experience as a contender did not start until 2010 and has expanded her associations to the Yadkin Valley and IBRA. “I fell in love with it. Going fast is something that I’ve always wanted to do. When my parents slowed down, I got the chance and just went for it. It is such an adrenaline rush,” she said.
Now that the reins have been passed down to Rhiannon, Lisa has taken on a new role and hauls her to all the rodeos. “It’s just the two of us. She’s always there to help me whenever I ride and give me pointers on what I’m doing. I love it, it’s sort of a mother/daughter thing,” Rhiannon said. While the girls are out on the road having fun, the boys (Kevin and Waylon, 2) hold down the fort to take care of the family farm. “Waylon is still pretty little, but he just got his first horse not too long ago and really likes the horse thing,” said Rhiannon. The fairly large age gap between siblings allows Rhiannon to do her part in helping with her younger brother. “Mom says that I’m the designated babysitter,” she said. Rhiannon’s support system also stretches out to her grandparents (Diane, Benny and Twain). “It is nice to have them support me the way that they do,” she said.
Finishing up her eighth grade year at Central Middle School in Dobson, N.C., Rhiannon is a standout student and maintains straight-As. “I’m really digging the school thing and, even though, I like all of my classes, I would say that reading is my favorite,” she said. She has set her sights on growing up to be either an equine/human chiropractor or a vet. “Something to do with outdoors,“ she said. While her school focuses a lot of attention on athletics, Rhiannon does not participate in the school sanctioned events. “Central is big into sports, but rodeo is my sport,” she explained. Looking forward to her freshman year of high school, Rhiannon plans on also joining the National High School Rodeo Association and competing in the fall.
Outside of school and rodeo, Rhiannon helps out on the family grain farm, where they grow barley, corn and soy beans. The fifth generation, Rhiannon says that she enjoys her way of life and gets the opportunity to get out and about. “Hard work and long hours makes me the cowgirl I am today,” she said. Along with the grain operation, the family holds true to their agricultural background and raise a range of animals from cattle and horses to chickens, pigs, goats and chickens. “We have a little bit of everything,” said Rhiannon. In addition, she is the personal owner of a small herd of donkeys. “Mom says that I’ll have to start running barrels on a donkey,” joked Rhiannon.