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Meet the Member Sydney Bottom
story by Lindsay King
“The best advice I have been given is rodeo does not define you, it is just something that you do,” said Sydney Bottom from Cheyenne, Oklahoma. This advice has advanced Sydney’s mental game considerably. However, rodeo is still what Sydney spends a majority of her time doing. “I got involved with rodeo when I was probably four, but what I remember most is always riding in the front of the saddle with my dad (Brad) wherever we went.” Also occupying Sydney’s time is livestock judging with the Cheyenne High School FFA, church activites and playing the tuba in band at school. As a recent graduate, Sydney is bound for Western Oklahoma State College to continue her rodeo career while majoring in agricultural communications this fall.
“My goal in college is to make the CNFR in the barrels. I will also tie goats, it is the event I spend the most time perfecting. It is the event that challenges me.” Coming into her senior year, Sydney decided to focus on “keeping every goat down” and making each run the best it could be. Her barrel goals on the other hand, were a bit loftier. “My short-term goal for each rodeo was to place and be consistent. I have managed to place deep in nearly every rodeo this year.” If Sydney keeps up the consistency going into state finals, nationals could be a reality for the second time.
“Winning reserve at nationals as an eighth grader in the goat tying was incredible. I worked so hard for that and it wasn’t something I expected going into the week.” Philli Black changed the game for Sydney and her goat tying. She gets a majority of the credit for the big win at nationals. Sydney’s parents (Brad and Kara BOttom) and family friend Lana Merick get the rest of the credit for their role in the making of this rodeo career. “I would not have accomplished anything without all of their help.” Twenty eighteen was a big year for Sydney, she finished third in the barrels at state for another shot at nationals while also taking fourth at both the Patriot and the AQHA world show.
About two years ago Sydney had switch up both of her mounts because of injuries. “I bought Ricochet from Kelsey Knight and we have a bond that I have never had with any other horse. He has a great attitude and we have accomplished a lot together.” At the same time, Sydney was searching for a goat horse. “Getting off is one thing I struggle with the most and finding a horse I could do that confidently on was tough. I went through a lot of horses and the first time I stepped off Hollywood, I knew he was it.” Luckily, Sydney’s sister Sealey, 14, is really good at the goat tying dismount. “She helps me with that and I help her with the ground work. Watching my sister compete is so much fun. We are very competitive and want the best for each other.”
Heading into the summer run, Sydnee is excited for her last state finals rodeo. “The atmosphere around that rodeo is what makes it fun. I really like the pressure of it too, I always know what I have to do to place well.” She’s especially thankful for the lifelong friends the OHSRA has provided. “I love the people that I compete against. Most of my best friends have come from competing in rodeo.” Friends and life lessons are just a couple of things Sydnee will walk away with at the end of the season. “Rodeo taught me to never give up. I have gotten in slumps where I thought I would never bounce back. A lot of it was my mental game. Now my mental game is everything to me. I just try to focus on what I can do and not what everyone else has already done in the arena.”