Meet the Member Emma Thompson

by Rodeo News

story by Lindsay Humphrey

“I got a really late start in rodeo, I was 13 or 14 when I started going to jackpots and junior rodeos,” said Emma Thompson who’s now 18 and in her final season with the KHSRA. “I’m the only one in my family involved in it [rodeo]. I had horses for a while and I’d always been interested in barrel racing, but it’s a lot different getting into it when your family isn’t involved in it already.” Emma’s siblings – Mequela 25, Olivia, 15, and Caleb, 13 – have all stuck with the typical high school sports while their sister pursues the toughest sport on dirt. Emma’s blessed with parents – Robert and Melissa – who learned the literal and figurative ropes right alongside her. “I’m really lucky to have the parents that I do. They were real troopers when we were trying to figure everything out.”
It took about two years from the time Emma decided to take barrel racing more seriously to the point of being consistent when she entered up. “I may not be as experienced as some of these other girls but in my personal journey I’ve come so far, and those really good runs make me really happy and proud of myself. I feel like I’ve worked hard to get here, and it feels really good when things go right.” Emma dabbled in cheer her first few years of high school, but she’s since given it up to keep her sights set on rodeo. It’s a decision she still firmly stands behind. That’s especially true now that Emma seems to have found her groove in high school rodeo. “I had a good, consistent season this last fall and I’m trying to do that again this coming semester.”
Fourteen-year-old Babys Dunnit Two (Annie) came into Emma’s life in 2021. “I didn’t think I needed to be buying a horse at the time, but I decided to try her anyways.” Annie’s bloodlines trace back to the reined cow horse industry, which is very different from the running bred horses Emma was used to. “She’s a bit wider and stockier than anything I’ve ever ridden before, but we fit like a glove. She’s definitely the style of horse I prefer, but I didn’t know that until I tried her out.” When asked about Annie’s demeaner Emma added, “She can be a little anxious outside the pen, but when she gets in there, she’s calm and focused on the job. I can always count on her to be ready to go and not have any issues. She’s a great mare, and a complete change of style and attitude. It was for the best when I started riding her.”
Even though Emma is hyper focused on the clover-leaf pattern, she enjoys pole bending as well. The versatility and change of pace of events for Annie is a bonus. “Back in October we ran poles at a local race series and ended up winning the 2D and came home with a buckle. I think it’s kind of funny because she’s green on the poles and I was just running for the fun of it, and she still placed.” Jackpotting, both in barrels and poles, takes up quite a bit of Emma’s time on the road, but the KHSRA captures most of her attention. “I love the atmosphere of high school rodeo; everyone is so helpful and nice. I love that it’s like a big family, and anybody in the rodeo world would agree with that.”
At Wheatland High School, Emma is one of only a few rodeo competitors. She’s involved in multiple organizations through WHS such as yearbook committee, FCCLA and the National Honor Society. As Emma looks forward to graduation in May, she’s decided on a career in nursing. “I’ve worked hard to take a lot of college credits this year so I can be ahead when I get to North Central Technical College. It’s only an hour from home, which is a plus. When I found out NCK Tech didn’t have a rodeo team, that was a big disappointment for me. I soon realized how much time I’d need to be spending on school and I decided rodeo needed to be on the backburner for a while. I plan on still hitting local races in my free time and continuing my passion for this sport.”

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

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