Meet the Member Brittany VanMeter

by Rodeo News

story by Michele Toberer

“It’s the thrill of rodeo and the love of barrel racing that has kept me competing my whole life. When my horse is on, it’s so much fun! The summer rodeos have been really good to us and I wouldn’t want to change anything,” says Brittany Van Meter of Atlanta, Indiana. Although she just had her rookie year with the Mid-States Rodeo Association in 2018, she’s spent a lifetime in rodeo. As a third-generation cowgirl, she was on a horse practically from birth, with her barrel racing mom Wanda Kuripla, and riding on her own as soon as she could sit on a horse herself. Brittany won her first barrel racing title as a pee wee competitor while she was 4 years old and riding her mom’s retired barrel horse, Rocky. “He was a sorrel gelding and he took care of us; my younger sister, Brandy, and I both rode him. I won a lot of money on Rocky when I was young. I rode him until he was 30, and he died in 2008.”
Growing up in Laingsburg, Michigan, the Kuripla girls spent many weekends at Mid-States Rodeo Association rodeos, as they traveled with Wanda, and their retired barrel racer grandma, Pauline Heise, to watch their mom compete. However, Brittany waited to join the MSRA so that she could make a run for the rookie title, knowing she had a horse that could help her win it last year. “KF My southern Belle is a sorrel with a big white blaze. She wasn’t even halter broke when I got her as a 2-year-old 10 years ago, so we started from scratch. Mike Cox brought her to me for 60 days of training, and I fell in love with her and had to have her, so he sold her to me. She has come a long way since then and we’re pretty in sync. We’re best friends, and she’s one I’ll never get rid of. My rookie year was pretty important to me and we just missed winning the title.”
Brittany met Michael Van Meter, at a MSRA rodeo in Michigan, where he was entered as a team roper, and the two married in Las Vegas, Nevada during the 2018 WNFR. “We were married at the Little Chapel of the West and spent 5 days in Las Vegas during the NFR for our honeymoon; we went to the Thomas & Mack to watch the rodeo on our wedding night.” Brittany moved to Indiana last April, where Michael works as a farrier and she works as a server at Charleston’s Restaurant. The couple travels the MSRA rodeo circuit competing and sharing their love of the rodeo lifestyle. “Now that my name is changed, people are surprised to see it’s me, they usually recognize me before I recognize them, because I’m the spitting image of my mom. There are lots of rodeo secretaries that recognize me.” The couple has a 30-acre ranch fairly central to the MSRA rodeos and Brittany loves that she can travel to so many rodeos within a 2-hour range, and they will stay in Michigan with family while they hit many rodeos there for a week or two at a time.
The 2019 season is going well for Brittany and Michael this season, and they are hoping to both have spots at the MSRA finals this fall. Brittany is also competing in breakaway roping on Michael’s red roan head horse, Catfish. She appreciates the help Michael has given her in perfecting her roping skills and his support in all of her events. Besides the MSRA goals, the couple has their sights set on moving to Texas in their future. “We’d love to move to Weatherford or Decatur where the winters are not as bad as they are here, and we could rodeo there all winter and come back here for the summer rodeos.”
Brittany appreciates the MSRA rodeo family she has been a part of for so many years; and is especially thankful to her husband as well as her mom and her stepdad, Don Brown, for all of the help and advice they give her.

                © Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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