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Meet the Member: Rhett & Prairie Rose RobbinsMeet the Member
Rhett & Prairie Rose Robbins
story by Lily Weinacht
Rhett and Prairie Rose Robbins are marking their sixth season of competing in the KJRA this summer. The brother and sister were inspired to rodeo as the sport is a family tradition dating back to their great-grandpa, Tommy Likes, who was a bareback rider.
“My grandpa (John Smith) used to ride bareback horses and bulls, so I decided I should do calves,” says nine-year-old Rhett. The calf rider has been competing in his event for two years and plans to start breakaway roping this summer. He looks up to fellow KJRA competitor Cash Toews, “’Cause he rodeos good and he’s my friend,” Rhett explains.
While Rhett loves to ride calves, he finds equal pleasure riding his horse, Gator, in the pasture. The Robbins’ farm, located outside of Salina, Kan., is home to not only horses, but also cattle, goats, chickens, geese, ducks, peacocks, lizards, dogs, and cats. When they aren’t riding their horses, Rhett and Prairie Rose enjoy playing football, baseball, or basketball together. Their family plans to take a summer vacation, but they will be sure to go to plenty of rodeos as well.
Rhett’s favorite rodeo to compete in is the KJRA finals, which he has competed in the last six years. In 2013, Rhett was the KJRA year-end Calf Riding Champion, and that year he also rode mini barebacks at the American Royal Invitational Youth Rodeo using his great-grandpa’s bareback rigging.
Prairie Rose, 11, competes in pole bending, barrel racing, breakaway roping, and goat tying, and she is also the ribbon runner in ribbon roping. Barrel racing is her favorite event, and her mom, Karody Robbins, is her coach. “I look up to my mom. I want to be like her, and she has taught me everything I know about a lot of my events. I just love rodeoing with her!” Prairie Rose is also working on roping with the help of her grandpa, John Smith, and her dad, Bret Robbins. Prairie Rose ropes and ties goats off her gelding, Rico, and runs barrels and poles on Tess and Missy, two horses she shares with her mom. Prairie Rose is also teaching her newest horse to run barrels, which they have been working on at jackpots. Both Prairie Rose and Rhett additionally compete in the Heartland Youth Rodeo Association (HYRA).
Along with rodeo, Prairie Rose’s other passions are reading, singing, and music. She is an avid reader of horse books and recently read Seabiscuit. “I really enjoy music. At the HYRA rodeos I sing the National Anthem almost every time. I play the guitar, and in band at school I play the alto saxophone. I’m trying to learn the violin, and I taught myself some piano out of my great-grandma’s book.” Her great-grandma, Esther Likes, enjoys singing and playing the organ. Prairie Rose was asked to sing the National Anthem at the American Royal Invitational Youth Rodeo in 2013, where she also competed in the barrel racing.
This summer, Prairie Rose says her goals are, “Getting better and better every time. I’m always trying to beat my last round. I have some colts, and as soon as my dad helps me break them to ride, I’m going to have them running barrels and doing other events.”
Every summer, Prairie Rose and Rhett’s grandma, Luanne Smith, comes to all of their rodeos. “She brings the motor home and makes supper and helps out a lot,” says Prairie Rose. Their grandpa, John Smith, attends several of their rodeos, and their great-grandpa, Tommy Likes, also comes to watch them compete.
Prairie Rose sums it up for both herself and Rhett when she says, “It’s the love of doing it (rodeo) that just drives me to keep going.”