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: Riley Bryant
story by Siri Stevens
From the ballfield to the barn, Riley Bryant and her twin brother, Ethan, keep their parents, Jennifer and Michael, busy. This is Riley’s first year in the JSRA. “I love it – it’s very competitive,” said the 13-year-old who calls Denver, North Carolina home. “We are the Denver on the East Coast – and we played the Broncos in the Super Bowl,” she said. “We have season tickets to the Panther games.” She and her family live on Lake Norman and when she’s not at the barn she is on the lake swimming or knee boarding. “I like the country and the lake,” she said. Riley competes in pole bending, goat tying, and barrel racing. “I like pole bending the best,” she said. “My horse does the best in that.” She rides an Arabian named Ona, a horse she has had for four years. Ona had already competed in rodeo, so the matchup was perfect for Riley, just starting out. She started competing three years ago. “I started out taking lessons from Becky Grigg, a former barrel racer, and competed in the NBHA. I learned how to pole bend, and that’s when we started in the JSRA.” She is currently competing in the senior division, 13-18 year olds. “Sometimes I win, but that’s mostly in poles. My best pole time is a 22.”
Riley is a seventh grader at North Lincoln Middle School – she is one of two students that rodeo. “Me and my best friend, Anna.” Riley likes math best in school because it’s the easiest subject for her. They are reviewing fractions and other things in preparation of testing. She is done with school June 6, and after that she will spend her time riding horses. The barn, where Anna’s grandparents live and where the horses are kept, is 15 minutes from home. She and Anna spend hours at the barn riding in the arena and trail riding.
She is the first one in her family to rodeo. She wanted to ride horses and her parents found Becky and the rest is history. The family comes to support her in the arena and her brother at the baseball field. “There are great families in the JSRA and they have been very welcoming – it was a great move for Riley,” said Jennifer.
Riley is hoping to grow up and be an Orthodontist, so she can work when she wants to a give lessons like Becky does. She is also hoping to make it to the NFR.