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Meet the Member Wimberlee Elliott
story by Lily Weinacht
Chasing cans and chasing dreams are one and the same for 8-year-old Wimberlee Elliott. The AJRA competitor from Paradise, Texas, is also becoming an avid roper, working to add to her buckle shelf, which holds numerous barrel racing buckles. She was the 2018 AJRA Reserve Barrel Racing Champion in the 8 & Under division, while she took third at the Ogden 8 & Under World Champion Barrel Race in 2018. When she was just 6, she won the all-around in the KJRA and took home a two-horse trailer that frequently tows her horses.
“We wanted to be in a little bit more competitive association, so we decided to try the AJs out this year and we loved them,” says Sammie Elliott, Wimberlee’s mom. “The girls get to go to a bunch of different arenas and we think that’s good for the girls to travel. Wimberlee was in the top three all year so we knew it came down to the Finals. They give good awards and we were excited for her. She was very consistent, and it’s super fun that the whole family gets to do it.”
“I like going to different rodeos and riding my horse,” says Wimberlee, who is sitting 10th in the pole bending and 13th in the barrel racing 9–12 standings. “My favorite is the Sweetwater Finals. We got to go swimming and we had a dance for the rodeo kids.” She also competes in goat tying, and is learning to breakaway rope from her dad, Derrick Elliott. “We’re working on going into the roping box, and tracking the calf,” says Wimberlee. Derrick and his brother and dad all team rope, and Sammie also rodeoed through high school and college. Now Wimberlee and her sisters, Oaklee (4), and Knoxlee (7), love horses as well. Knoxlee also competes in the AJRA, and the sisters ride throughout the week and practice a specific event each day with their parents. I want to get better, and I have fun with my friends.” During rodeos, Derrick helps the girls with their horses, while Sammie braids manes and videos runs. She also sews all of Wimberlee and Knoxlee’s rodeo shirts.
Wimberlee trained her 11-year-old pony, Dusty, for goat tying, and rides 26-year-old Chip in barrels and 25-year-old Zapper in pole bending. “Chip can bow and lift up his feet—he wants to do it all the time when you clean his feet,” says Wimberlee. She and Knoxlee like to train ponies together, and hope to sell the ones they don’t fall in love with someday. Their Labrador, Julz, also accompanies them to rodeos.
Wimberlee recently finished second grade at Paradise Elementary, where she made a family tree for a final school project. She also played volleyball, basketball, and softball on her school’s teams. Attending several basketball camps is a highlight of Wimberlee’s summer break, as well as roping, and competing at the AJRA Finals. “I play with my sisters, and I like riding my ponies too,” she adds. “I want to keep competing as I get older.” Wimberlee is also looking for another barrel horse who can take her to the next level and compete at bigger barrel races. Her main focus now is breakaway roping, followed by learning team roping so that all of the family can rope together.