Story by Riata Cummings Grayce Baxter is a rodeo athlete and senior at Lehi High School. She enjoys “all things medical” and is currently taking […]
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Meet the Members – Barrel Racers
stories by Ruth Nicolaus
Ashley Keyes is a barrel racer and pole bender in the Utah High School Rodeo Association.
Of her events, barrel racing is her favorite. She rides a 15 year-old dark bay named Fred, who was purchased by her grandpa as a cow horse. When she rode Fred, at age eight, her grandpa and parents realized how well she and Fred got along, and a bond was formed. “I feel like he really cares about me and my safety,” Ashley said.
For the pole bending, she rides a 15 -year-old horse named Ozzie, a former race horse. Of the two, Fred is her favorite. Her mom likes to say that watching Ashley and Fred in the barrel racing is like “watching poetry in motion.”
The senior at South Summit High School in Kamas enjoys school and has a perfect 4.0 grade point average. She is taking several college classes, and enjoys studying history, especially the history of the ancient world and of the American West.
The soon-to-be 18 year old is part of her school’s dance company, and last year, was secretary for the FFA chapter. She also is a member of the Interact Club.
She has qualified for state finals all four years, including this year in the barrels. She’s qualified for Silver State three years, but has only competed there once.
After high school graduation, Ashley will get her associate’s degree in nursing from Salt Lake Community College and then go on to the University of Utah and finish her bachelor’s in ER nursing. Her goal is to work in an ER someday. She is interning at a hospital now, and every time there is an emergency, she is allowed to go into the emergency room and see what goes on. “I like the adrenaline,” she said. “It’s kind of like barrel racing.”
Ashley has two older brothers, Shawn and Amos, and a younger sister, Cali. She is the daughter of Steven and Cindy Keyes.
When it comes to bonfires, you can count on Taylor Sandberg to bring the chocolate. The Utah High School Rodeo Association member, a resident of Hooper, loves to relax and hang out with friends at bonfires at each other’s houses or farms, and when they do, someone usually brings graham crackers, marshmallows, and Taylor brings the chocolate. If the crackers and marshmallows don’t show up, “we still have chocolate,” she says.
The 18-year-old cowgirl competes in the pole bending, barrel racing, and this year, started tying goats. Of her events, poles are her strength, “because I enjoy it the most and my horse absolutely loves it.”
Her pole horse is a 22-year-old sorrel gray named Sis who has been passed down to Taylor from two older sisters. Even with her age, Sis “is still going good. I can still get 20’s and 21’s on her,” Taylor says. And she has a personality. “She’s sassy. She’s definitely a mare.” In the arena, Sis runs hard. But outside the arena, “she does what she wants. She hates to listen.” Sis is also her barrel horse.
For the goats, Taylor rides a 20-year-old buckskin named Bucky.
She is a senior at Fremont High School, where she is currently taking seventeen college credits. She is a member of her school’s FFA chapter, National Honor Society, and has a 4.0 grade point average.
Taylor started high school rodeo as a sophomore, and has qualified for state finals her sophomore and junior years and for next spring as well.
After high school, she may attend Weber State University, but she’s unsure of her field of study. She may go into the medical field.
She has four older sisters: Ashley, Tiffany, Amy, and Aubree, and a brother, Ben.
She is the daughter of Troy and Lori Sandberg.
When it comes to barrel racing, Lauren Butler “lives it, breathes it and loves it,” she says.
The 18-year-old cowgirl, a member of the Utah High School Rodeo Association, is a barrel racer, breakaway roper and header in the team roping. Of her events, barrel racing is her favorite.
She rides a 10-year-old sorrel named Holly for the barrels. Holly isn’t very friendly; in fact, she has a secluded stall, to keep her away from other horses, but she still needs a buddy. Her buddy, Wilson, Lauren’s head horse, can’t even be in the stall next to her; Buddy is a few stalls away, so Holly can’t hurt him.
Wilson, her head horse, was named after the volleyball from the movie “Castaway”. For the breakaway, Lauren rides a new horse, a 20-year-old named Crusader who is just as crazy as Holly. But that’s fine for Lauren. “I like crazy horses. I think they’re more fun.”
The Spring Lake, Utah resident is a senior at Payson High School, where she has a 3.9 grade point average and is on high honor roll. She loves her medical anatomy and physiology classes, but is not keen on college writing, where students do a lot of essays and write-ups on books they have read.
After high school, Lauren plans to attend Utah Valley University and get her radiology technician degree. She hopes to compete in college rodeo as well.
She has competed at state finals the past three years and is on target to do so again next spring. She has qualified for Silver State twice and competed there last July in the barrels.
Lauren has an older brother, Andrew, who is 21, and two younger sisters, Amanda, who is 14, and Josie, who is five. She and Amanda are the first generation in her family to rodeo; she likes to joke that six years ago her dad said, “We will never own a horse!” and now the family has seven of them. “We give him a hard time about it all the time,” Lauren says.
She is the daughter of Mark and Kim Butler.