story by Jet Toberer Second-generation team roper, Eli Woodyard, of small town Max Meadows, Virginia, has been roping since he was 8 years old, and […]
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Meet the Member Annie Grace Roach- JSRAMeet the Member
Annie Grace Roach
story by Magie Downare-Nevius
In her second season with the Junior Southern Rodeo Association (JrSRA), Annie Grace Roach has burst into the pee-wee standings to take a current lead in the All-Around with over $1,000 won. The 7-year-old cowgirl is a quadruple event competitor (mutton bustin, goat tying, barrels and poles) and at the present time, is seeded no less than second in each event. “She really has a passion for it. Win or lose, she is always so happy to just be competing and is very humble about it all,” said mom, Gail.
With the help of her aunt (Yvette Whitesell), who is a veteran Southern Rodeo Association (SRA) barrel racing and breakaway contestant, and uncle (Greg Whitesell), who is a former SRA and International Professional Rodeo Association calf roper, Annie Grace’s rodeo cravings began when she was approximately 4 years old. She quickly progressed in the JrSRA to finish her first season ranked sixth in the all-around, third in the goat tying and eighth in the mutton bustin to return home with a handful of buckles and prizes. “I am personally very grateful for Yvette’s and Greg’s help. They have been the best thing in helping her stay in it and love it the way she does,” said Gail. With family holding her same interests, Annie Grace gets the opportunity to travel and compete with her cousins (Kolby, Elly and Cynch Whitesell). “I just love watching her goat tie and mutton bust, but it is truly amazing to see all of those little kids get out there and do what they do,” said Gail. “The JrSRA is filled with so many nice and trustworthy people, that it is a great opportunity to get to know everyone, while still trusting that your child is safe.”
Described as having always possessed an outgoing personality, Gail states that it was the sport of rodeo that brought Annie Grace’s true identity out. “She has never met a stranger and is even very enthusiastic about cheering for the other contestants. I feel that it was rodeo that helped with it all, more so than anything else,” said Gail.
Spending her life in Dacusville, S.C., Annie Grace was adopted by her great grandparents (Gail and Terry). Although Terry passed away close to two years ago, the couple remain Annie Grace’s biggest support system. “Terry was the only daddy that she ever knew and would be so proud of how far she has come,” said Gail. “The only thing that he wanted before he passed away was to see her name changed to Roach on the adoption papers.”
The second-grader at Ducasville Elementary School is out to win the All-Around for the 2014 season, but it seems that she may be able to pull out of the finals with even more. Currently leading the standings in the mutton bustin and peewee pole bending, Miss Roach has also taken a second place position in the peewee goat tying and peewee barrels.