By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
Rodeo is a passion in the Haley household, and now they have two championship saddles to prove it.
For the first time in the 41-year history of the Roosevelt County Little Wranglers Junior Rodeo Association, saddles were awarded to the boys and girls overall winner of each age group Sunday. Eleven-year-old Hunter Haley (girls 10-12) and her younger sister, 8-year-old Madison Haley (girls 6-9) claimed two of the saddles for themselves.
“It felt really good to win a saddle, because this is the first saddle I’ve ever won,” Hunter said. “Without all the sponsors that supported us this year, we wouldn’t have been able to get these saddles.”
Hunter won the breakaway roping competition in her age group on the way to winning the all around title while Madison dominated her age group, winning four events including: barrels, flags, breakaway roping and poles.
“I got to be with my friends and stuff,” Madison said. “I’m still learning how to rodeo really good and so I can watch the older girls run and then I can do what they do.”
Hunter and Madison’s mother Stacey Haley says the sport brings together the entire family.
“I think that there’s nothing better,” Stacey said. “Because it’s something that they can share, they work on it at home, they practice together, they work together and they learn together. It’s a great experience, it’s great for our family to be able to do this.”
Both girls have been competing in rodeo since they were 5 years old and Hunter enjoys showing off her skills.
“It’s really fun to do, and since I’m a girl it kind of proves that girls can rope too,” Hunter said.
Hunter also helps out her younger sister when it comes to getting better.
“It’s really fun because I get to watch her and we get to talk about the same thing. I tell her what she did wrong or what she did really great on a run,” Hunter said. “It’s kind of actually really funny, because she does really weird stuff but it ends up doing really cool,” Hunter said.
“She helped me a lot,” Madison said. “She tells me what I need to do with the barrels and the poles.”
“I’m really proud of her because when I was that age I wasn’t as good as she was,” Hunter said.
Both girls also want to keep improving.
“I’ve improved a really lot because a couple of years ago, I couldn’t catch anything and then my goats would always get up, but now I’m either winning it or placing second,” Hunter said. “I can get a lot better because I’m still learning, just like my sister is.”