Alex Little could win a national championship in a sport few people may know.
“I don’t know where I actually thought I was going with it,” Little said. “It was typical little girl loves her pony.”
The high school senior is a cowgirl, and her sport is rodeo.
“I love the adrenaline,” Little said. “I love having a teammate that’s completely different than a person. On a team, someone can blame you. But in this sport, if you mess up or your horse messes up, it’s most likely something you do.”
The sport isn’t easy. Little and her horse have to be in sync while completing a task in a matter of seconds.
“Everything is fast about it, and that’s what I like about it,” said teammate Larissa Byers. “
It is a sport predicated on control, contingent on precision.
“You’ve got to know what you’ve learned, work off your muscle memory, and run your own race” said Jayme Myers. “When you run your own race the outcome is awesome.”
Little and Byers both train with J.R. & Jayme Myers Performance Horses in Felton, Pa.
‘It’s humbling,” said J.R. Myers. “One day you’re on top of the world, the next you’re at the bottom.”
- Barrel Racing
- Tie-Down Roping
- Breakaway Roping
- Steer Wrestling
- Team Roping
- Bareback Riding
- Goat Tying
- Saddle Bronc Riding
- Pole Bending
- Bull Riding
- Reined Cow Horse
- Boys/Girls Cutting
PA High School State Championships in Rodeo
This year, Alex Little is on top; she is the all-around champion in Pennsylvania.
“You have those bad runs and you want to quit, but you realize you’ve got tomorrow,” Little said. “You’ve got another practice before I go to that rodeo.
Little is not alone. Byers is also a state champion this year. Both girls have qualified to compete in the National High School Rodeo.
“Coming from where I come from, it’s a real small town,” Byers said. “It’s a lot of farming, so rodeo is not really an option. Being able to show people and explain what I do, it gives me a sense of purpose.”
She not only finds a purpose in the saddle, but also in countless hours spent taking care of her animals.
“It grows them; it develops them; it helps them to be both humble and accept life’s challenges,” said Little’s mom Brandy. “It just teaches them unity and respect, growing not just as a person, but as a team.”
The sport is on the rise and opportunities for women in rodeo are growing.
“Both of them have a lot of drive and a lot of compassion for what they’re doing,” J.R. Myers said. “Both of them are stubborn enough that they’re not going to quit.”
The goal for both girls now is to win a national title before heading off to college. The 2021 National High School Finals Rodeo is in Lincoln, NE from July 18-24.