story by Lindsay Humphrey A one-trick pony has never been good enough for Carlee Potter of Latham, Kansas. She’s more interested in the versatile horses. […]
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Meet the Member Tia Wallace
story by Kyleigh Winn
As a six-year member of the Kansas High School Rodeo Association Tia Wallace enjoys seeing her friends each weekend and roping. Tia started as a sixth grader in the association and is now in her final year of competing as she is a senior at Manhattan Virtual Academy. Tia competes in breakaway roping, barrel racing, and team roping and is excited to finish the season strong. She is savoring every moment of her last season in the association and looking forward to the future. Tia’s favorite memory competing in the KHSRA was winning a state title in the breakaway roping her sixth-grade year. She will miss the KHSRA family, the countless Sonic runs and the dummy ropings with friends. Tia plans to continue her education in and out of the arena at the college level. She is still deciding on schools but is looking forward to pursuing an Animal Science degree and continuing in the sport of rodeo.
Tia started rodeo at the young age of four. She followed in the footsteps of her grandparents, Rusty and Carla Tooley who have encouraged and helped her throughout her journey. With Tia’s grandpa Rusty being a professional roper with a qualification to the National Finals Rodeo in 1982 she naturally took to roping. With breakaway roping being her favorite, he has helped her in many ways. “My grandpa is a huge part of my success roping and is always there to figure out what I’m doing wrong and to help me fix it.” Tia says that her grandpa is her idol. “He has always been there to help me not only with my roping but with whatever I needed.” Tia’s family is a large part of her success in the arena. Her mom and dad, Troy and Amy Wallace and brother Ty Wallace (22) have always been there to lend a hand with anything. When Tia isn’t roping or at a rodeo, she enjoys playing cowboy and working on her family’s feedlot. “I love just being on the back of my horse acting like it’s the old days and just playing cowboy.” Tia’s brother Ty though not being active in the sport of rodeo has focused on his college career and other athletics. “It’s funny because most people don’t know I have a brother because he doesn’t rodeo.” Tia enjoys spending time with her family and playing basketball with Ty.
Tia has several equine athletes that she relies on to compete in her rodeo events. Her main mount being Diesel a 16-year-old gelding which she mainly breakaway ropes on and occasionally will barrel race and pole bend on. In the team roping she heads for Kyleigh Winn on a 20-year-old gelding Clancy but enjoys heading on her 6-year-old Chester as well. Tia enjoys working on young horses and expanding her knowledge in horsemanship. “My grandpa has helped me so much with my horsemanship and it’s so fun to get to work on horses with him.” Tia credits her success to the help of her family. “My grandparents and parents are always there to help me do whatever is necessary for me to chase my dreams, I am thankful to have the support system I do.”
Tia’s list of accomplishments is a long one but her favorite would be winning the International Finals Youth Rodeo in the breakaway roping in 2019. This is her proudest win because of the work she had to put in and the mental game she had. “It was super cool to win something like that, I really focused on building my mental game going in and it was awesome to see my hard work pay off.” Tia makes sure to stay confident in herself and her horse while staying focused on her goals and out of her head to prepare for competition. She has qualified to the Junior American two years in a row as well as finished in the top five of the Jr. NFR. Tia has also qualified to the National High School Finals in the breakaway and plans to return this summer. As a girl with a history in rodeo Tia looks forward to making new memories and finishing her final year with a bang. “In rodeo everyone is family and I will always look back on my time with the KHSRA fondly.”