Story by Riata Cummings Grayce Baxter is a rodeo athlete and senior at Lehi High School. She enjoys “all things medical” and is currently taking […]
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Meet the Member Emily Haight
story by Magie Downare-Nevius
After a four-year campaign with the UHSRA, Emily Haight will take to the next chapter of her life as a student at Utah State University, majoring in equine science. While the 18-year-old cowgirl has full intentions of continuing down the rodeo trail in her future, she has not fully decided if she will join the rodeo team her freshman year. Which ever path she chooses, Emily will be in good hands, as she has extended experience as a rodeo athlete as a tri-event cowgirl. Working the pole bending and barrel racing, and adding breakaway roping to the list her senior year, Emily was able to put together three state qualifications during her time with the organization. “I was always best in the pole bending, but I truly love each event,” Emily said. “I didn’t grow up in a rodeo family, so when I took to rodeoing, I just fell in love with each part of it.”
While Emily’s parents (Brent and Julie) had knowledge of the equine world from their upbringing, neither competed within the arena. “Mom had a ranch with horses growing up, but she mostly took to trail riding on occasion and Dad had a horse when he was younger, but never competed,” Emily explained. An obsession with horses developed with Emily when she was very young, but Julie teased that when she could afford to buy one of her own, then she could have one. “So I saved my money and when I was 12-years-old, I bought my first horse,” Emily said. Taking the first step, Emily soon started competition within the local 4H program and it didn’t take long until she was introduced to the rodeo world. “It was my brother’s friend’s older sister, who got me interested in rodeo. She was very talented in the UHSRA and through her, I got into competing myself,” Emily recalled. Formerly into dancing, Emily’s desire to rodeo took over and she soon put all of her attention toward the sport. “Rodeo just became my main focus and it is something that I take seriously. It has never been easy, as I have had to figure most of it out on my own, so making it to state was always considered successful to me,” she said. The oldest of five children, Emily has passed down the passion to two of her younger sisters, who currently show in 4H. “The youngest of my three sisters isn’t quite old enough, but all three say that they want to high school rodeo. My younger brother is the only one that is not interested in it and is a mountain biker,” Emily said.
The Midway, Utah resident has recently returned home after three-week humanitarian trip to India. Through the Rising Star Outreach program, Emily had the opportunity to lend a helping hand to a Leper colony, assisting in the medical unit, school and community building projects. “Leprosy [also known as Hansen’s disease (HD)] is quite a problem over there and these people are often shunned in an outcast society. In this, they struggle with medical assistance, schools for their children and even basic buildings, so when I learned of the program through a friend, I decided that I wanted to help out,” Emily said.