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Meet the Member Riley Welch
story by Laramie Dearing
Living day to day full of high-spirited adventure and an immaculate amount of laughter, Riley Welch promotes a life brimful of joy. Riley Welch resides in Comfort, Texas, a part of the San Antonio Metropolitan Statistical Area. An admirer of western heritage, rodeo is a familiar lifestyle to the cowgirl.
Daughter of Rod and Kim Welch, Riley is 16 years young and the youngest of four siblings. She is a junior who is enrolled and taking classes at two schools, White Horse Christian Academy and Boerne Area Christian Academy. “I took more classes my junior year. That way I will only take two classes my senior year. It was easier to take a heavy load so I can enjoy my senior year for what it is.” Riley apprehends how even the little things in life deserve to be appreciated. A dog mom to four of those little things, Riley has four Australian Shepherds that bring her masses of glee. Between spending precious time with her friends and dogs, she also takes delight in traveling.
A triple threat, Riley competes in barrel racing, breakaway, and team roping. “My favorite event, by far, is the barrel racing, I have been doing it the longest. It is really just very near and dear to my heart”. Every cowgirl needs a horse. Shortcake, “Shorty”, is Riley’s go-to barrel horse. “Shorty is my baby girl, we have a special connection.” When not running barrels on Shorty or roping calves, Riley prefers the head side in team roping.
Prior to competing, maintaining a straight mental game is essential. “Before I run I listen to my music and try to get the right headspace.” Her pre-run routine definitely works as Riley has earned titles such as: 13-15 AJRA Ribbon Roping World Champion, 2019 13-15 AJRA Barrel Racing Reserve World Champion, and Texas Circuit Finals Youth Rodeo All-Around Cowgirl.
“I love everything about rodeo. It was because of the sport of rodeo that my closest friends became much more; family. I have built strong connections with others and can’t imagine life without being a part of it.” Riley competes in the American Junior rodeo Association, Texas High School Rodeo Association, and Cowboy Professional Rodeo Association.
Outside of the hard-work dedicated to rodeo, Riley enjoys devoting significant moments to doing little things that bring her delight. She loves spending time with her closest friends, and discovering new sights traveling. In addition to her extracurricular activities, Riley also appreciates riding reining horses.
“Following my high school career I plan to attend Weatherford College in Weatherford, Texas my freshman year to knock out my basics and continue competing in rodeo. Maybe transfer to Tarleton State University or Texas Tech University.” A bright future lies ahead and Riley is chasing after it with the help of others. “Someone I really admire and look up to is Stacey Grines. She played a really big role in helping me and showed me a lot. She taught me how to be at the top of my game as well as being the best person and competitor”.
Humble, yet determined, Riley strives and thrives towards greatness both in and out of the arena. With her eyes dialed in on the upcoming continuation of the AJRA season and THSRA State Finals, Riley is finding refuge and support from one of her favorite bible verses, Hebrews 13:6, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” This is no small phrase to utter. Saying something with confidence means that we can stand, unwavering, on the truth we are about to say.”