story by Lindsay Humphrey After four years of success in the Young Guns association in Dodge City, Kansas, one thing continues to allude Brecken Tullis […]
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Meet the Member Janelle Brett
story by Lily Weinacht
Janelle Belt joined the KJHSRA this fall, carrying on the family-wide tradition of rodeo that she stepped into when she was four. Today, the 13 year old from Kingman, Kansas, competes in barrel racing and pole bending in the KJHSRA, and the HYRA, which helps keep Janelle and her horses on top of their game through the winter. “Rodeo is what I really love to do, so even if it’s cold outside, I’ll still go ride,” she says. “I play sports, but I’d still rather rodeo over other sports! My mom and all her sisters showed horses, so I was born into being with horses.”
Janelle rides on weekends and even after basketball practice on weekdays. “I like barrels more than poles because they go quicker, and my horse knows what he’s doing, so it’s fun to ride him.” Janelle has been riding a new horse, Playa, since last summer, and they’re starting to bond with help from her family and friends. “My mom, Jamie, and my grandma, Jane, have been helping me a lot with my new horse, and my friend’s mom has been helping me work on barrels and poles. Playa knows what to do, we’re just getting used to each other.” Janelle also rides her horse Toby in her events, and the pair won the HYRA series in the barrel racing in 2013 and 2014. “My family says he runs a lot like Lisa Lockhart’s horse Louie,” says Janelle. “Toby is always consistent. My biggest inspiration in the WNFR is Lisa Lockhart. I watched the WNFR on TV every night, and I like her style and the way she runs her horse.” Janelle also rides Misty Jo, a Welsh pony she trained herself for poles. “She was just sitting in the pasture without a purpose, so last summer I decided to teach her poles, and she’s a pretty good pole horse since she’s tiny.”
The Belt family keeps several of their horses with Janelle’s grandparents, where she also rides and practices. “My sister, Jadyn (11), also does barrels and poles in the HYRA, and we usually practice together. Sometimes our cousins will come out and we’ll all ride together. They rodeo and keep their horses at Grandma and Grandpa’s too. I also have a friend that likes to come ride with me.” Janelle and Jadyn are in 4-H, and by this spring, they’ll have sheep and pigs to care for and work with before fair, where they also show their horses. Their other animals include four dogs, several goats, and cats.
An eighth grader at Saint Patrick Catholic School, Janelle’s favorite class is science, particularly animal science, since she plans on becoming an equine veterinarian. Janelle plays basketball with the Kingman Eagles, and the team won the majority of their games for the season. She also plays softball in the summer, along with volleyball in the summer and fall. Once home, she and Jayden are in charge of riding horses, while their dad, Jason, and older brother, Jarod – who rodeoed in high school – work on the family’s farm.
“Once my horse and I get things figured out, I’d like to make it to Nationals,” Janelle finishes. “My main goal is to compete in the WNFR someday, and several big jackpots and world championships.”