Meet the Member: Grayce Baxter
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 […]
UHSRA Queen, Baylee LaFleur
– Hazen Photography
Crowned in June, 17-year-old Baylee LaFleur is the shimmering ambassador for the UHSRA. Representing the organization with glitter and grit, the state queen is responsible for more than just presentation, and her duties include; but are not limited to: assisting in running queen contests each week, working with association sponsors, is affiliated with state finals activities and service projects. Most importantly, Baylee is passionate about education and works closely together with various school boards across the state of Utah. “There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that many people are not aware of about rodeo queens. I would have to say that my favorite responsibilities, so far, have been Rodeo Day at elementary schools and the Special Needs Rodeo. I truly believe that there can be a special connection between people and animals and being able to be apart of that with those children is something special,” Baylee said. Aside from her devotion as the state queen, Baylee also competes in the barrel racing, pole bending and breakaway roping.
While Baylee has had horses her whole life and started competing at the age of 8 in the local 4-H program, she had actually only competed in approximately three queen contests prior to entering the UHSRA contest. “The queen contest is a combination of all of my favorite things; I love talking to people, horses and performing and get to experience those things in about 15 contests per year,” Baylee said. The third-year member has climbed the ladder of success quickly and was able to finish in fifth place at the NHSFR last year, taking second in the horsemanship competition. “I was very proud of that. I had worked very hard at it and was able to have a strong finish,” she said. Before holding the coveted crown, Baylee began racking credentials as the UHSRA First Attendant, followed by the Silver State International Rodeo First Attendant her freshman year. “I have been very fortunate with the help of many people,” she said. Even so, Baylee credit’s the help of Crystelle Ross Bitton for her swift advancement. “Crystelle was the high school queen 10 years prior,” Baylee explained. “She barely knew me, but took me under her wing and has taught me everything that I know. She has gone from my coach to becoming like my sister and I feel that she is the reason why I was so successful so early.”
A junior at Fremont High School, Baylee takes her education very seriously and plans on graduating with an associates degree. “I want to be a neurosurgeon, but I don’t want to go to school my entire life, so I figured I could get done what I can in high school,” she said. Maintaining status on high honor roll, Baylee holds dreams of staying in Utah for the first couple years of college and then willing to go where the road takes her.
The Plain City, Utah resident is the oldest of four children, having two younger sisters and a younger brother. “We are all three years apart, but they are all my best friends and we are all very close,“ Baylee said. While her parents (Troy and Sherry) had competed in rodeo on a small scale locally and her siblings show interest in rodeo, Baylee is the only family member to currently compete. “I am very blessed with a great family that helps and supports me,” she said.
Baylee hopes to remain royal and will compete for the crown once again at the state finals. “I would like to go back to Nationals and do well, but I would also like to qualify for state in the barrel racing now that my horse is no longer injured,” she said
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