story by Kailey Pickering After pursuing a passion for English jumping for four years, Grace Barnett turned back to her love of rodeo when her […]
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Meet the Member Will LeMay
story by Lily Weinacht
Will LeMay concluded his second season in the AJRA with four saddles and five buckles to his name. The 12-year-old from Albany, Texas, lead the standings in all of his events throughout the season, and he was neck and neck with his fellow competitors when the AJRA NFR rolled around. “I don’t think there was ever more than two points between us the whole year,” says Will, who competed in tie-down roping, ribbon roping, and the optional in breakaway roping and double mugging.
“It was pretty exciting because he had some tough competition and roped against some really good boys that were close to him,” adds Roxanne LeMay, Will’s mom. “He didn’t win as many rounds as he would’ve liked to because he slowed down to make sure he didn’t have any no-times.”
Will tied one particularly wily calf just seconds before the timer, and his diligence paid off, sending him home the year-end champion in tie-down roping, ribbon roping with Kreece Dearing, the optional roping, and the all around. “This was my first time to win a title at the AJs and it was really exciting!”
Will started rodeoing about four years ago, taking after his dad, Richard LeMay, who team ropes. Will’s 17-year-old sister, Grace, also competes in the AJRA, and Will competes in the TJHRA Region 3, in which he qualified for state finals in the breakaway and ribbon roping this summer. The LeMay family heard about the AJRA several years ago and wanted to try it as well. “We always heard it was really good competition, which it is other places too, and we wanted to take them somewhere they’d continue to be pushed and challenged,” says Roxanne. “The association is run really well and we enjoy our time there and the people we’ve met. Finals week is fun and full of exciting activities like the basketball tournament and swim party.” Another highlight of the week for Will was running the bucking barrel for the exceptional kids rodeo the AJRA hosted during the Finals.
He’s moving into the 13–15 age division this season and plans to compete in all the same events. Will practices as often as possible, waiting until evening to rope in the summer when it’s cooler. “I look up to my mom and dad, and John and Cody Owens. They have really helped me sharpen up on some things, and we’ve been roping with them a lot lately. My mom and dad help me with practice and turning out calves, and hauling to rodeos,” says Will. “(My drive) is the love for the sport and getting to spend time with family and friends at the rodeos, and getting to be with the animals and traveling. Everyone helps everyone out in rodeo.”
Alf, Will’s 12-year-old gelding, carried him to the AJRA Finals and all of his year-end titles. “I’ve been riding him for probably two years, and he knew a little bit about roping, but we got him working the rope and all that,” says Will. He also brings his family’s horse XL along as a backup horse and a companion for Alf when they’re on the road. Alf and Will also won the short go in the 2019 Joe Beaver Easter Weekend Roping.
Along with rodeo, Will is often on horseback helping his family run their ranch and raise cattle. He enjoys being outdoors, from fishing and hunting with his family to playing baseball on his school’s team. A seventh-grader at Albany Junior Senior High School, Will likes math, and plays pitcher and short-stop in baseball. “I want to make it to the Junior High National Finals Rodeo,” he finishes, “and then one day get to rope in Vegas in the tie-down.”