Horses run through Shy-Anne Jarrett’s life. She gets up every morning thinking about them, and goes to bed with them on her mind. The Oklahoma […]
Riley Bowen is in her final year of competition in the Kansas High School Rodeo Association. The 18-year-old cowgirl lives near Sylvia, Kan., about thirty miles west of Hutchinson. She competes in the breakaway roping, team roping (she heels for Mari Kate Crouch), and the goat tying. Of all her events, goat tying is her favorite, because “I’ve done it the longest and I like the rush of it.” She also enjoys goat tying practice, in part because of her two coaches, Stacey Ellias and Shelley Meier.
Her breakaway, heading and heeling horse is an 18-year-old palomino gelding named Haynes, and her goat tying (and backup heading horse) is an eleven year old bay mare named Foxy. Both horses are always looking to see what they can get into, she says. “They are very ornery. They’ve learned that if I don’t latch the gate when I go to feed them, they run at it and run out the gate.”
Foxy has also gotten into trouble when they are traveling. Riley sets up pens on the side of their trailer, where the hot water heater is located. In the winter, the horse will back up to the heater, and twice she has burnt a piece of her tail on it, setting off the carbon monoxide detector in the trailer. “I always joke that my goat tying horse is trying to kill me,” she says.
As a senior at Stafford High School, Riley enjoys weights class and her weights teacher, Mr. Sweet. Mr. Sweet used to rodeo so he is more understanding of her schedule and has respect for her sport. Math is her least favorite class; she understands it, but she’d much rather be doing something else, like taking a science class.
Science comes easily to Riley, which is a good thing, because she’d like to be a plastic surgeon someday. She first learned about plastic surgery when a friend had a bad facial injury, with all the bones on the left side of his face broken. A plastic surgeon repaired his face to where no one can tell that any injury happened. She shadowed a plastic surgeon in Wichita a month ago who has been on numerous mission trips, and her goal is to take her surgery skills on mission trips to help children born with cleft palates and cleft lips. Learning to be a plastic surgeon will require from eight to ten years of schooling, she estimates.
Riley is a member of the National Honor Society, was parliamentarian for the FFA last year and is secretary this year, is on her school’s honor roll, and is on track to be valedictorian for her class. She also competes in Little Britches Rodeo and is the 2013 Senior Girls Goat Tying champion. Last winter, she won the Heartland Youth Rodeo Association’s all-around title.
For fun, she loves to go to movies. The movie theater in Stafford shows movies every other weekend, so she and her friends usually go to Hutchinson. Her favorite movie ever is Despicable Me II, and the most recent movie she’s seen is Lone Survivor. If she had her choice, her most favorite thing to do would be to tie goats with Shelley Meier in Garden City. She really enjoys Shelley, Jason, and their three sons.
Riley will head to Garden City (Kan.) Community College this fall on a rodeo scholarship. She’d like to have horses and rodeo in her life, and someday, she’d like to make at least ten mission trips as a doctor. She doesn’t care where she goes, so long as it’s somewhere where she can help.
She has a pet border collie, Jack, who is very intelligent. He and Riley won the American Royal novice agility competition a few years ago. Jack sleeps on the floor next to Riley, and if she gave the word, he’d be right there in the bed. She is the daughter of Stoney and Cindy Bowen.
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