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WSRRA Meet the Member: Crystal KellyMeet the Member
courtesy of WSRRA
The women’s division of the Western States Ranch Rodeo Association is growing stronger than ever thanks to members such as Crystal Kelly of Bruneau, Idaho. The 25-year-old wife and mother of two has competed in WSRRA since 2010, qualifying twice for the National Finals in women’s steer stopping and last year on the Crown W women’s team. This year she is serving as a WSRRA Women’s Division Representative, and competing in the steer stopping and on the Tri-States Team with Jennifer Black, Jess Childress and Becky Lisle. She is also leading the committee for the WSRRA queen competition, which is searching for ranch women interested in competing for the crown and representing the association at rodeos and industry functions.
How did you get started in ranch rodeo, and how long have you been doing it?
My husband, Nathan Kelly, Jr., has always been an avid ranch rodeo competitor, so I pretty much followed in his footsteps. I competed on my first ranch team in 2012, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
What WSRRA win are you most proud of and why?
At the 2013 WSRRA National Finals I placed second in the long go with the Crown W team, and we ended up third in the short go. I was competing with a team of family and friends, and we had some tough competition!
Who has been your biggest ranch rodeo influences, and what’s the best advice that person has given you?
My husband has been the backbone to me competing in ranch rodeos. There’s way too much advice there, but his best tips are in the arena right before I throw. Also, my dad, Randy Sherwood, raised me on horses and even though he doesn’t ranch rodeo, he supports me. Nathan Kelly, Sr., Mindy Goemmer, Jessica Kelly and Luke Baumeister have all been there one way or another, supporting me and when I get jumbled they help pick me up and get me going again.
How did you learn about WSRRA and what do you enjoy most about the association?
We hit the first sanctioned rodeo and have been members ever since. I really love the idea that we can all work toward something big and have something to show for it. It gives all of these cowboys somewhere to mingle, and it’s very family oriented. Once you’re traveling to the events it’s like a big family. We all support each other and work hard to qualify for the finals.
How does ranch rodeo and competition help you in other aspects of your life?
It helps me when I’m day working and helping on the ranch. I speed up my roping and the way I perform my daily tasks. It has taught me how to also appreciate a good horse and team work.
What is an ideal weekend for you?
Loading up with my husband, kids and good horses and going to another rodeo. We spend more than half our year doing that, but being able to raise my kids around the friends we have at these events is the best.
Name five things you never hit the rodeo road without.
A good horse, my gear, a 45-foot nylon rope and a cooler of drinks.
Tell us about the horse you are competing on this year.
Cash Zan Poco, a.k.a. “PatontheBack,” is a 10-year-old American Quarter Horse Association gelding. He’s our rock. My husband did a full horse, saddle, bridle trade for him, a horse-for-horse deal. He was a 4-year-old and humped up a lot. After many wet blankets, he figured out that if he’s nice to the kids he has an easy life, which he does now. We use him for everything–he’s been used at shows, ranch rodeos and to pick up on in the bronc ridings. I’m even busting him out on the barrels now. We officially say he’s our son Brody’s horse, but we use him every trip to town and at home working. Last year at the finals, my bridle chain broke in the branding short go. I roped and worked him with one rein and he was a saint.
What would you most like to accomplish in ranch rodeo?
I’d like to win the finals with a fun and handy women’s team.
How would you like to see the association grow and improve?
The association has really stepped up the last few years, and I love the addition of the women’s division. I’d like to see more rodeos in states like Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. There are a lot of great cowboys out there and being able to see all the different styles at the finals would be a fun culture change.
In what associations do you compete other than WSRRA?
I also compere in the Women’s Ranch Rodeo Association, American West 4D and ACTRA.
What is your horse and ranching
I was raised on horses. My dad roped, packed and shod horses, and I was always with him. I have competed in rodeo since I was a toddler, and I started day-working for neighboring ranches when I was 10. I’ve worked for horse traders riding colts and for a few northern Nevada ranches. Now I’m a cowboy’s wife, so I get to raise my kids in the same lifestyle I was raised.
How do you hope to make a difference this year in the queen contest and grand entry?
Being able to coordinate the first competition for the WSRRA queen is already turning out to be fun. The contest will give us a queen who can represent the association with her knowledge and handiness as a ranch gal. I really look forward to the grand entry showing that the finals is a serious event. I hope that it will catch the eyes of the onlookers and showcase our devoted sponsors.
What are the rewards of volunteering in WSRRA?
Meeting the members and hearing their stories is a huge highlight, and making it possible for our everyday cowboys to compete. It’s an honor to be part of such an amazing association that promotes the Western lifestyle.