Lassoed by a ranger


Photograpger: Lazy HH Photography

Kayli Ecklund rides her horse Caspian, doing the girls barrel event at a rodeo. “I have been rodeoing for four years, but I have been riding horses since I was little,” Ecklund said.

Marlee Mikesell, Ranger Review Reporter

“Rodeo is a western style event, it started back when there were big ranchers in the 1800’s and they would say to each other, ‘I bet I can rope the calf faster than you can.’ Eventually, the girls started to want to do an event and they said, ‘We have all these old barrels sitting around, let’s turn this into an event and I bet I can beat you at it,” Kayli Ecklund 10 said. “So, it turned into a sport, where there are different cattle and horse events and all the events are things that ranchers actually do. There is barrel racing, pole bending, and goat tying which are girl events, that also came out these competitions.”

Kayli Ecklund has been riding horses ever since she can remember and competes in rodeo events all around Colorado.

“I have been rodeoing for four years, but I have been riding horses since I was little and I have been jumping for a year,” Ecklund said.

The events that are usually held at rodeos are mutton busting, bull riding, barrel racing, team roping, steer wrestling, and many more.

“I barrel race, do pole bending, goat tying, which is where you jump off your horse and run and tie the goats legs together, and I am a runner for ribbon roping which is an event where a guy ropes the calf and I run and grab a ribbon off the calf’s tail and run back,” Ecklund said. “My favorite event is barrels, because my horse, Twizzle, and I are pretty good at it and it is the event I have been working on the longest.”

Rodeos are held all across the United States and have spread to Canada. According to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame website, rodeos are a big deal in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado as all three of these states have claimed that rodeos have originated in their states.

“I travel all the time and all around the state. The farthest I have gone is about six hours to Grand Junction to compete, but I normally travel two or three hours to go to different arenas around the state,” Ecklund said.

Before Ecklund can compete in the rodeos she must practice. In order to stay ready for the rodeos, she works to keep herself and her horse in shape.

“I ride an hour and a half everyday, which is about 10 hours a week,” Ecklund said. “I have to keep my horses in shape, just like being an athlete, and you have to keep yourself in shape.”

Ecklund participates in Sources of Strength, choir, theater and Young Life. With all the time that Ecklund spends practicing and preparing for rodeos, it can be difficult for her to participate in these school events.

“Sometimes I can’t go to as many school events and can’t be as involved in as many clubs as I would like to be, because I have to deal with my horses,” Ecklund said. “Often times I put things off to the end of the day, which means late nights doing homework. But, I definitely it is worth it.”

There are multiple colleges with equestrian teams and some schools that have rodeo teams. Ecklund’s goal is to eventually compete in rodeos at the collegiate level.

“I know a lot of my friends that I rodeo with want to eventually be in the Pro rodeo, where you travel all over the country to compete, just like being on an NFL team,” Ecklund said. “Although, I just want to do college rodeo and be on team and travel around, I don’t think I want to ever do it professionally.”