story by Ruth Nicolaus For Phoenix Brown, time is of the essence on school mornings. The fourteen-year-old cowgirl, a member of the Nebraska Junior High […]
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Meet the Member Ryan Eilers
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Ryan Eilers is in her last months of competition in the Nebraska Junior High School Rodeo Association.
The fourteen-year-old cowgirl, a resident of Arthur, Neb., competes in the pole bending, barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat tying. Of her four events, breakaway is her strength because “I’ve really clicked with it,” she said. “I started out strong, and the people around me have really helped me with it, and I’ve gotten really attached to it.”
Three horses carry her for her rodeo events.
Maggie, a seven-year-old sorrel mare is her breakaway and pole bending horse. Gator, a 27-year-old black gelding is her barrel horse, and Frostbite, a 21-year-old gray horse, is her goat tying horse. Of the three, Maggie is her favorite, because “she’s never turned me wrong. She’s always been there to do exactly what I’ve asked, and she really wants to do it.” The family owns Frostbite and borrows Gator and Maggie from the Ohm family.
Ryan is an eighth grade student at Arthur Co. High School. She loves sports and the people in her school. “Everybody’s there for you,” she said. “The teachers are there to help every kid. It’s a great school.” It’s also a small school: ten kids make up the eighth grade class.
Her favorite subject is pre-algebra class, because the teacher, Mr. Fink, “is very good and helps all the students. He explains it very well to me.” Her least favorite subject is English, although the teacher, Mrs. Boley, is helpful. “She’s always there to answer my questions and help me out on essays.”
She is a member of the Quiz Bowl team, student council, plays volleyball and basketball, runs track, and is on her school’s honor roll.
Ryan is also a member of 4-H, where she shows cattle and horses and does the trail and speed events. She also does photography and cooking.
Her specialty in the kitchen is cookies and desserts, namely chocolate chip cookies, cakes and muffins. Last year, her upside-down pineapple cake and zucchini muffins won purple ribbons at the county fair, and her muffins went on to the state fair, where they won another purple.
For fun, she loves to help on the ranch. During calving season, she helps her dad get cows in, tag new calves, and pairs out. In the summer, she helps with brandings, and this summer will be her first year in the hayfield. The ranch puts up stacks instead of bales and she hopes to run the scatter rake in her rookie year.
The best meal her mom makes is bacon spaghetti, including bacon, parmesan and noodles. Her favorite dessert is her mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies, and she loves going to Valentine, Neb. to the rodeo and seeing the wetlands and the Niobrara River.
If Ryan was given $1 million, she’d buy a new barrel horse and new tack, she’d get air conditioning in the barn, and buy a new cake (feed) truck because she’s not crazy about the brakes on the current truck!
Ryan loves to read, especially mysteries and thrillers. Her favorite book is Will you Be Mine, and currently she’s reading The Last Song.
Last year was her first junior high state finals and she competed in the poles, barrels, breakaway and goat tying. She didn’t place at state finals, but her first competition catch in the breakaway was at state.
Her parents, Aaron and Melinda, love their first-born child.
“She’s very determined and very hard working,” Melinda said. “She’s really tough, too. Even when she was little, she would get hurt and not cry.” She’s worked hard at improving her grades, and her parents have noticed and appreciated that.
There’s not much that scares Ryan, either. “She’s pretty fearless,” Melinda said.
Ryan has a younger sister, Alyse, who is nine years old.