I get asked every year for advice on the recruitment process. Here is some of the advice I share every year with students: Finish your […]
After two years of winning reserve all-around, Hadley Thompson was relieved to say the least when she was announced as the 2022 World Champion. “It was infuriating,” recalls Hadley, “I thought I had it the last two years. This year, my hard work finally paid off.” The disappointment Hadley had experienced made her want it that much more. To leave Guthrie, Oklahoma with the all-around title, Hadley competed in barrels, poles, breakaway, ribbon roping, team roping, and trail. Winning the all-around was the icing on the cake. She also went home with the goat tying, trail, and all-around finals championships.
The home-schooled Yoder, WY cowgirl devoted her time to practicing so she could bridge the gap between reserve champion and world champion. “Homeschooling has helped my rodeo career so much,” she declares, “I’m very thankful my parents homeschool me considering how much time we spend outside.” Daily, joined by her siblings competing in rodeo, Hadley will ride up to fourteen head of horses and practice her tying and roping. “The more consistent you are in practice the better you do,” she declares.
The fifth oldest Thompson in a long line of rodeo athletes, Hadley has grown up on horseback. Hadley’s dad, Thorpe, team roped, and calf roped. Her older siblings, Jamie (26), Jacey (23), and Tiegan (16) all competed in Little Britches as well. Hayden (18) and Turek (12), are currently competing, and Taisley (6) and Tinlee (7) are up and coming. Her dad and older siblings have taught her all she knows. The Thompsons couldn’t do what they do without mom, Shelly, who is credited with keeping the family together. “I don’t remember a time when we’ve gone to a rodeo and my mom wasn’t there. She’s my biggest supporter,” she recognizes, “I love and appreciate her more than she knows.”
The eleven-hour drive to the NLBA Finals was no challenge as the Thompsons have hauling down to a science. Two rigs were taken to Guthrie, one with a semi load full of Thompsons driven my Hadley’s mom, Shelly, and the other held nine horses driven by sister, Jamie. Thorpe stayed home alongside brother, Tiegan, to take care of the family’s 30 head of horses. Hadley’s older sister, Haiden, also competed at finals and came home the goat tying, all-around finals, and all-around world champion. She is one of Hadley’s biggest inspirations. “I look up to her,” she said, “I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.” Haiden is going off to college next year but is taking her extra year with Little Britches to continue competing with her siblings.
Once at finals, Hadley knew she had a job to do. “I took one run at a time and did what I know how to do. “It’s ingrained in me. I trust myself and let the muscle memory take over.”] Hadley’s mental game under pressure is something she has struggled with in the past. At finals, with help from her family, Hadley executed keeping her nerves in check. “If you have a bad run, you need to realize what you did wrong and let it go. I look up to Haiden for her mental game. My mom and dad help me with it too, it’s getting better.”
Looking ahead to the next four years in Little Britches, Hadley is looking forward to bettering herself and her team of four horses. She even dreams of one day going Pro in the breakaway roping. Her world championship is something she recognizes she couldn’t do alone, “I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me and who has helped me, I give all the glory to God.”
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