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Meet the Member Rylea Fabrizio
story by Siri Stevens
It’s said that cowgirl is in the heart. If that’s the case, then Rylea Fabrizio is a cowgirl at heart with the essential try that makes the winning difference. When Rylea isn’t roping somewhere in the West, she is working in it or thinking about it. And placing in it – earning second place ranking in the mixed team roping and seventh place in the breakaway roping after the recent Colorado Professional Rodeo Association finals in Montrose, Colorado.
Rylea now lives in Stephenville, Texas, running the social media department at Lone Star Ropes. Her sister, Jordan, also a breakaway roper, lives down the road in Springtown, Texas. Stephenville is a pretty good place to be because the weather is awesome and there’s a roping or jackpot almost every night.
Rodeo is a family affair – Dad Tom, born and raised in Colorado, competed in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and throws a loop now and then still as a header. Sister Jordan won the inaugural ladies breakaway roping at Cheyenne Frontier Days in 2019, while Rylea had the opportunity to rope with her mom, Debbie, a general contractor in Pueblo, Colorado, during the summer, travelling to twenty rodeos that qualified her for the finals and earned her a robust twelve thousand dollars in winnings. Rylea treasures those times with her mom, “She makes you tough” and Rylea knows she would not be able to live this great cowgirl life without her parents.
Rylea entered her first rodeo at four so the ups and downs of rodeo life on the road are deeply ingrained. Highlights include winning the breakaway roping at the 2017 Spicer Gripp Memorial Roping in Hereford, Texas. The win was especially meaningful since the arena was not an easy setup – fresh calves, long score and open arena. Rylea also is particularly proud of winning at the Texas state high school finals and more recently, finishing in the top fifteen at the 2019 Cheyenne Frontier Days in the first-ever ladies breakaway roping.
Rylea and her boyfriend, Jonathan Torres, a team roper, traded Texas cactus for the pine trees of the Pacific Northwest, travelling to Pendleton and Ellensburg in summer 2019. She loved the new landscape, supporting Jonathan and seeing new site. And roping in those rodeos in 2020 is now one of Rylea’s top goals.
Rodeo success starts with a solid mental game. Rylea credits her strength of character to her dedicated and supportive parents that continues with Jonathan. Tom and Debbie taught her to not get too down and keep going because there will always be another one. Jonathan advised her that roping is a job and she’s there to win money. For every benchmark win, there’s always those times when Rylea draws a bad calf or gets nervous. Jonathan has helped her stay focused, watch the cattle and do her job. “He’s a big cow watcher,” she noted and remembers every calf and steer. He advised her that “if you put money up, you might as well bring it home.”
Bringing it home means training with reliable and speedy mounts. Rylea found those qualities in her two heading horses, Stiletto (named for her long legs) and Twitter. But it is Starbuck, the 23-year old quarter horse who has made her the roper she is. “We trust each other and he knows I’m his person.” Though Rylea allows that he behaves like an outlaw around other people, including her dad.
To earn her living full time in rodeo means that breakaway roping would have to keep growing and gaining in popularity. When there is downtime, Rylea is in the kitchen perfecting her love of making great food, Cajun or Italian and spending time with family. Rylea lives each day to the fullest whether she’s working or rodeoing. “God has blessed me in so many ways, I can’t wait to see what He has in my future.”