Ray Beechy is a cowboy who has overcome many obstacles. When he was 12 years old, he was involved in a sawmill accident, which resulted […]
In her approximate six years as a member of the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association (KPRA), Brenda Delano has worked her way to the top of the standings to qualify for the finals four times. “It’s all in the rodeo people, who quickly become friends. Everyone is so nice and it becomes like a second family,” Brenda said of the association. The 57-year old cowgirl spends a majority of her time horseback, riding young horses and selling them when she gets the opportunity. “I’ve been blessed with nice horses,” she says.
She also finds the time to work on the farm outside of Bird City, Kan., with her husband (Patrick). “We lease our farm ground out, but there is still plenty of work to do,” she said. Patrick, who also holds a fulltime job as a physician assistant for the past 20 years, does not rodeo, but gives his full support to his wife in her rodeo choices. “He stays home while I’m hauling to take care of all of the animals,” said Brenda. With Patrick holding down the fort, Brenda often takes to the road alone. “It can get lonely. It would be nice to have a driver, because I get so tired,” she admitted. The couple have two daughters (Tori, a cardiac nurse, and Danielle, an Apple Bees Manager), who have never rodeoed, but are very supportive. “I didn’t ride a lot when they were growing up, and by the time I started back up, they were more into their high school activities,” explained Brenda.
Growing up in an agricultural background, on a farm only a short distance from where she lives now, Brenda was introduced to the cowboy lifestyle early on with her dad (Harold Leroy Connett) competing in the calf roping within the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. “Dad always had cattle, horses and farmed, so it was easy to jump right in there,” Brenda said. Although, she is the youngest of three sisters, she was the only sibling to inherit the arena itch. “I just always stuck with my passion,” she said. Granting that Brenda had been riding since she was a young child, she got her initial start in competition while in high school. “I was a member of the gymkhana club, where I did numerous events and was the high-point senior girl three times in a row,” she said.
Since that time, she has expanded her list of associations to the National Barrel Horse Association, where she was named the 2002 Kansas State Champion. She has also been found competing in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association within the Prairie Circuit in 2003-2004. “I competed on a horse that I had raised and called Rocket. He was a very nice horse, but I ended up selling him and haven’t found a horse to match him yet,” said Brenda of her current pause with the organization. Along side of the KPRA, she currently competes in the Nebraska State Rodeo Association, where she has qualified for the finals for the past two years. “It is such a challenge. Rodeo has so many variables to it with many different situations, which makes it challenging for you and your horse,” she said of why she prefers to rodeo. “If you don’t have a horse that can handle all of the variables, you may have a harder time.”
With the 2014 season kicking off in full force, Brenda will have a full schedule. She will compete on her finished 14-year old mare (“Blazie” Fast Freckles), whom she raised, but will also keep herself busy with a handful of young horses that she is getting started. “My main project is a five-year old futurity horse that I’m working on. I see a lot of potential and hope to see great things,” she said.