BOYS RANCH, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The 2023 annual Boys Ranch Rodeo is scheduled for Labor Day weekend on Sept. 2.
This year’s faces of the rodeo are Laura and Elijah who will compete in the rodeo. As well as Marlie, a rodeo clown.
Laura arrived at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch in the summer of 2016 and initially joined the rodeo because her friends were doing it. She had just two months to prepare but overtime competing in rodeo grew on her.
“I had never ridden a horse, never seen a horse,” said Laura. “I think just over time it grew on me and it’s just something that I’ve liked sticking with. I enjoy it and find peace in it.”
Laura continued, “Of course, you can get anxious when you compete and whatnot. But there’s still something of having this skill that many other people might not have the opportunity to do.”
Throughout the year Laura competes in other sports as well. However, rodeo gives her the chance to be a team with her horse and disconnect.
“I think I find an outside enjoyment in rodeo, compared to all my other activities that I participate in,” explained Laura. “Out here on the ranch, just getting away from my friends and being a team with my horse.”
Although competing in rodeo is exciting for Laura, it comes with nerves that she’s learned to control over the past several years. She shared that waiting for her turn and warming up the horse is when the anxious jitters come.
“There was actually someone out here a few years ago, she did rodeo as well”, said Laura. “She would tell me to find five things that I see and four things that I feel and it’s kind of like your five senses and you go down three two one. Then take a breath. That kind of helps me reset sometimes.”
With this being Laura’s senior year, she’s hoping to finish strong and perform well at the final rodeo.
“I just hope to finish out this year strong,” said Laura. “Just be proud of my times and stuff, completing a goal and beating my time from last year.”
If there is one piece of advice Laura could give, it’s to be okay with failing.
“Fail a lot,” explained Laura. “Be okay with that. I’m a perfectionist and I hate failing. I hate not getting it right. Just be okay with failing. Like, there are so many learning aspects to that. I wish that I wasn’t as afraid of failing. I wish I was more comfortable with it so I could grow faster.”
Laura continued, “I’ve been kicked by horses, I’ve slipped out of my saddle as I ride, I lost my stirrup, and a lot of these things happen to riders, and I think it’s part of a cowgirl or cowboys’ life. It’s just learning the lessons and failing as you go.”
Tickets for the rodeo can be purchased online. General admission is $15 and box seats are $20, kids six and under get in free. The day kicks off with adventure fest at 11 a.m., followed by the barbecue at noon and the rodeo at 2:30 p.m.