story by BreAnne Benson The first time Riley Isbell competed in barrel racing was in Waco, Texas. She was in pre-school, on her first pony […]
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Meet the Member Hailey Hass
story by Lily Weinacht
Hailey Hass has competed in every Junior NFR since its first year in 2016. The 13-year-old barrel racer from Hempstead, Texas, is returning to Las Vegas once again this December after qualifying at the KK Run for Vegas in Chickasha, Oklahoma, stopping the clock at 15.411 to win the senior division. She was astride Leading Tradition “JT”, who carried Sherrylynn Johnson to the WNFR before becoming one of Hailey’s main barrel horses last year. “I always watched Sherrylynn run him at pro rodeos and I always dreamed of riding him. This last year at Vegas I had the opportunity to run him. When we got home for Christmas, my parents told me they’d bought him,” says Hailey. JT had recently recovered from a cold before their run at Chickasha, but still put forth his best. “That run was really special to me, because everything I told myself I remembered, and it was one of my first runs back on JT in a long time. I also had some of my good friends running there, so I was really happy to watch them run. I felt like (winning) that was an opportunity God had given me.” She and JT were also in the top 15 of the 1D at the All In Barrel Race in December, and the pair won the barrels in the TJHRA Region 6 this season and advanced to state finals, where Hailey made it to the short go in goat tying and finished fifth in the state.
She also competes in pole bending, breakaway roping, ribbon running, and team roping as the header, but she’s been barrel racing the longest. “I’ve been riding horses and barrel racing since I was four, and I went to my first jackpot on my dad’s team roping horse.” Hailey’s dad, Robbie Hass, was an AQHA and APHA champion in western pleasure and trail course before he started roping, and her mom, Laura Hass, was a college and NFL cheerleader. “I look up to my parents especially, and I have to give a huge thanks to Mike and Sherrylynn Johnson for always supporting me no matter what horse I ride. My second year at the National Little Britches Finals, Sherrylynn had a goat tying clinic, and my dad and Mr. Mike are good friends.” She also got to know the Johnsons at Josey Ranch, where Hailey has attended clinics and competed in the Josey Junior World and Josey Reunion the last three years. “One of my favorite things is seeing Miss Martha and RE because they help so many kids, and it always feels like home.”
Along with JT, Hailey rides a mare named Montana, whom they call Big Mama, in the barrels. “She’s almost 100 percent different from JT, but they really like each other, and she’s really pretty and really fun and easy to ride. I look forward to training her to poles.” The Hass family has six horses, and Hailey and her 12-year-old brother, RJ, practice together often. He pulls the roping sled for her, and will help hold goats or set up barrels and poles. RJ will start junior high rodeoing this fall, and Hailey hopes their 3-year-old sister, Madison, will join Little Britches in a few years.
When she’s not on her way to a rodeo, Hailey enjoys photographing her sister and spending time with her family and friends. She’ll be in eighth grade this fall at Schultz Junior High School, and plans to spend the summer qualifying for the TYRA finals and getting her horses ready for the Junior NFR. “Me and my family have known Kelly (Kaminski) for a really long time and she always puts on fun races,” says Hailey. “I would love to win the Junior NFR, and I would also love to win the barrels at the TYRA finals. I just plan on having fun and riding hard.