Rodeo Ranger Wins Big


Emma Grothe rides in the flags portion of the competition

Catherine Best, Ranger Review Reporter

The Lewis-Palmer High School Rangers have a champion in their midst. Emma Grothe, 12, earned high marks this season in her last summer of high school horseback riding competitions. Grothe, who has been competing with her horse, Moon, since age 8, was awarded Champion of Champions at the El Paso County Fair. This win, combined with her other titles, secured her enough amateur points for the Equestrians and Professional Rodeo Association to invite her to compete professionally in the future.

“At one of the horse shows, I got Reserve Overall, which is second-best for my division. At another, I got High Point Western and High Point Gymkhana, which means that I was best in both Western and Gymkhana,” Grothe said.

These other prizes served as a platform from which to earn the highest mark later in the season.

“At county fair, I got Champion of Champions, which means that out of everyone who won any first-place ribbon I did the best in the final competition,”Grothe said.

After the season’s closing competition, the rodeo association sent her an email asking her to continue western and gymkhana riding in a professional fashion after college. Western and gymkhana riding are rigorous sports which aim to demonstrate the teamwork of horse and rider at high speed through precise, controlled movements. Competition events include barrel racing, pole bending, the flag race and reining patterns.

Emma prefers the speed events to the complicated steps of reining, but continues to compete in both. The training required to master so many skills is time-intensive.

“I practice all year, depending on what my horse needs,” Grothe said.

She admits that balancing training with school responsibilities can be difficult, but maintains a high GPA. In the future, Emma hopes to use college to combine these two strengths into one passion. 

“Well, I’d like to be a vet working with wildlife, not necessarily horses, but other animals too,” Grothe said. “Although after school I would like to eventually go pro.”