story by Michele Toberer Raring to go and ready for rodeo, Gabe Davidson cannot wait to hit the reset button on his rodeo career. The […]
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Meet the Members Emilee and Bryson Carroll
story by Michele Toberer
Emilee and Bryson Carroll are happy to be carrying on a rodeo tradition passed on to them by their dad, Derek Carroll. Derek spent his own childhood in the rodeo arena, competing in high school and college rodeo and still has a passion for team roping. Although the Carroll kids’ mom, Katie, didn’t rodeo, she couldn’t be a more supportive rodeo mom for Bryson, a senior in high school, and Emilee, an 8th grade student. Both Emilee and Bryson attend school at Swink Junior High and High School, a K-12 school near their home in Rocky Ford, Colorado. Although the family hails from Colorado, where Katie is a pre-collegiate advisor and Derek is a State Farm agent, they have been members of the Kansas High School Rodeo Association since Bryson was in 8th grade. “We love the friendly people at the Kansas High School Rodeo Association and the rodeos are actually much easier for us to get to than the events in Colorado because we don’t have to travel through the mountains,” explained Emilee.
Fourteen-year-old Emilee competes in breakaway roping, pole bending, barrel racing, and goat tying. Besides rodeo competition, she also plays basketball, volleyball, and runs track for the Swink Lion’s. Emilee is a member of the national junior honor society as well as junior student government, and her favorite classes at school are Spanish and science.
Emilee started competing in rodeo when she was just 6 years old, and this is her third season with KJHSRA. She has been running an 8-year-old bay roan mare named Charlie in barrels and poles this season. Emilee also rides Dandy, a 21-year-old Paint gelding, for breakaway roping and goat tying. “My favorite events are pole bending and breakaway roping. I like going fast through the poles and being smooth; and, I like breakaway roping because of all the people that help me with it.” When Emilee’s name is called to back in the box for her breakaway run, her dad, brother, and his best friend, Brandt Walton, are right there with her. Her dad coaches her, Bryson is in the box with her reminding her to keep her tip down and take as few swings as possible, and Brandt climbs in the chute to push her calf. Although she’s been close, Emilee has not qualified for national finals yet, and is working hard to achieve that goal this season so that she can compete in Des Moines, Iowa in June.
Bryson competes in tie-down roping and team roping, heeling for partner, Brandt Walton. With junior rodeo a part of his life since he was 5 years old, finishing this final season of high school rodeo is a little bittersweet. “Team roping is my favorite event because I have so many family ties to it. I grew up going to roping jackpots with my dad, and it really bonded me and my grandpa, Leo Carroll, before he passed two years ago. My grandpa was always hunting good heel horses for me. Tee Jay, is a 13-year-old brown mare my grandpa found for me and she’s really special to me because of that.” Bryson is grateful to both his dad and grandpa, as well as Talon Shipman, for all of the team roping skills they’ve helped him with. If Bryson isn’t at school or competing, he is generally found working on his family’s ranch in Pueblo, Colorado, where they raise black Angus beef cattle. Bryson looks forward to the next phase of his rodeo career as he will move on to Garden City Community College and study for his physical science degree while competing at the college level. Bryson is considering becoming a physician’s assistant or chiropractor. He hopes to one day also raise and train horses and compete as a professional team roper. “I’d like to take a shot at roping at the NFR one day. I’ll miss these years in KHSRA and appreciate the connections it has given me throughout the state of Kansas. I’ve made a lot of rodeo friends that have become rodeo family.”
Both Emilee and Bryson have enjoyed serving as event directors, Emilee is the boy’s goat tying director for KJHSRA and Bryson is the KHSRA steer wrestling director this year.