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World Champion Landry Haugen
story by Lily Landreth
Landry Haugen is the 2019 NLBRA Junior Girl Goat Tying World Champion. The 14-year-old from Sturgis, South Dakota, clinched her first world title with the association after placing 2nd in the first round and winning the second round and short go. “I was nervous because of the short go, but I was confident in myself and my abilities,” says Landry. She competed in all of the junior girls events except trail course and qualified for the Finals in all of them. “It was super tough competition down there, and it was a great year to win it. I feel like I deserved it because everyone was so incredibly tough.” Landry’s 10-year-old sister, Arina, also competed at the NLBFR, and they were accompanied by their parents, Dee and Tyler Haugen, and their 5-year-old sister, Blaisely. “Every year we try to go to the water park because it gets so hot, and there’s a fantastic Mexican restaurant there called Ted’s, and we go there every year also,” says Landry.
Prior to the NLBFR, Landry competed in the 2019 NJHFR in barrel racing, breakaway roping, and ribbon roping. She finished as the National Reserve All-Around Champion Cowgirl and 18th in the nation in barrel racing. “It was definitely a marathon with Nationals and Little Britches—it’s a lot like Fourth of July rodeos. You come to a week where you have to be mentally prepared, and then you come to another week where you have to be just as dedicated and prepared,” Landry explains. “There’s a poem called ‘Return to Heaven’ that I refer to. It’s about a basketball player, but it applies to rodeo too. It says, ‘Every time I pass over the line of the court, I transcend into a different being.’ That’s exactly how I feel. It’s a surreal feeling that you won, but it’s also the feeling of working hard and it paying off.
“I was born into rodeo. My mom says I didn’t walk until after I was 1 because I grew up in the semi truck rodeoing. My parents were both circuit rodeoing, and we’d go to Salinas and some of those big rodeos,” Landry recalls. “I’ve ridden a horse forever but I was probably 4 or 5 when I competed in my first rodeo by myself. We all go together. My parents made a resolution before we were born that when we rodeo, we do it as a family. I definitely look up to my parents, and my mom in particular because she tied goats a lot in college. Jordan Thorsten is a goat tyer from up here who has helped me a lot, and one of the people I look up to is Lisa Lockhart. She’s so incredibly humble, and she might have just won Salinas and the Canadian Finals and she’ll tell you it went good. She’s a pretty good family friend of ours.”
The Haugens also work together training horses, including several of Landry’s rodeo horses. “My goat horse is Pepper, and I also breakawayed off of her at Little Britches Finals. She’s 8 and she’s beyond cool—she’s almost like a person to me,” says Landry. Her mom trained Landry’s barrel and pole horses, Smores and Style, while Landry breakaway ropes on Cheeto and team ropes on Kitten.
A freshman at Sturgis Brown High School, Landry enjoys science and is interested in astrophysics. She’s also on Student Council and a youth leadership group that focuses on community service. She loves to play basketball, and in her free time, enjoys working on beading projects, including halters for her horses. “I have mostly mental goals—take your time and do the best you can, and be happy with either outcome. I want to win state in goat tying, barrels, and breakaway in those four years, and possibly a national title if the opportunity presents itself.”