Marana graduate saddles up for rodeo nationals - The Explorer: Sports

Marana graduate saddles up for rodeo nationals

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Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 4:00 am

Before the sun even rises, 18-year-old Braelyn Henry is in the rink with her boots on and reins in hand directing her quarter horse through a warm up. 

Daily morning practices since the age of two is what has earned Braelyn the opportunity to compete for the third time in the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rocky Springs, Wyo.

“I practice early mornings and have to give up every weekend to do this sport,” said Braelyn, a 2013 graduate from Marana High School. “The more years I do it the more I love every little bit of it. I get to bond with the different horses and the more I ride the better I get.”

Brought up by parents who rode competitively and surrounded by horses day in and day out, Braelyn quickly found a love for riding.

“The sport is just always so interesting,” said Braelyn. “You get to go against other people, travel a lot and there are a lot of new experiences, which is exciting.”

Throughout the last 16 years, Braelyn’s competitiveness and desire to win has shined brightly through her accomplishments. In 2010, she was named Rookie of the Year and ranked in the top four for pole bending by the Arizona High School Association. During the next three years, Braelyn won a national title with the Arizona National High School team, was one of the top 10 in the nation in pole bending for the National High School Association and received numerous accolades at the local and state level.

Braelyn not only excelled in the rink, but also in the classroom where she took honors classes, one advanced placement class and completed her high school years with a cumulative 3.5 grade point average. 

Arizona Team Cinch, an organization that honors elite cowgirls and cowboys for their accomplishments in the classroom and in the arena, recognized Braelyn’s hard work her senior year.

Along with the support of her family and friends, Braelyn says that she couldn’t have accomplished what she has in the arena without her quarter horse, Spring N Lena, who she has ridden since age five.

“When I ride her, she knows what to do before I even do it. She’s already one step ahead of me all the time,” said Braelyn. “I like pole bending the best because I get to ride her in it and we do well.”

There is no doubt that the two make a strong team. From July 14 to 20 Braelyn will stand among 1,500 competitors from Canada, Australia and 41 states at the world’s largest rodeo competition. Monetary prizes, college scholarships and a national title for each event will be given. 

“I hope to get three clean runs,” said Braelyn, who will compete in pole bending. “In my short-go, which is the third-go I’d like to run a 19. The average is 20 seconds so I want to get just below that.”

After the national competition Braelyn will continue to ride at Cochise Community College where she will pursue a degree in animal science.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

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