Late Arrivals Defeat Elements, Each Other at Gymkhana

Late Arrivals Defeat Elements, Each Other at Gymkhana

Izabelle Pedri, 11, of Rock Springs was just one of many participants who braved the cold to compete in the Wild West Outlaws Gymkhana Rodeo Sunday. SweetwaterNOW photo by Paul Murray.

SWEETWATER COUNTY — A combination of 12 degree cold and Sunday morning obligations for some produced a late arriving crowd of competitors for the November 20 Wild West Outlaws Gymkhana at the Sweetwater Events Complex.

The Gymkhana switched to a Sunday start due to the Indoor Arena being used for team roping last Saturday. The barrel racing competition was held back-end forward as a result, with the 40 & over barrel racing competitors going first. No one rider won all three events in her age group, as the first place laurels ended up being spread around. Several riders did come in first in two different competition categories. As before, the Gymkhana consisted of competition in barrel racing, pole bending, and a third event combining the two skills.

Makenzi Scott, 19, competed in only one November 20 Gymkhana event, barrel racing, but she bested the entire 76-rider barrel racing field with a 15.821 seconds timed run on her favorite mount, Cats Raspberry Berret. No other barrel racer broke the 16-second mark. Scott, from Rock Springs, also posted the second best time in barrel racing, at 16.054 seconds, on another of her horses, Emma.

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Given the dimensions of the Indoor Arena, the times posted by Scott and her two horses in the competition were the equivalent of burning rubber on a Nascar race track. Scott was taking a Thanksgiving week break from her duties as part of the University of Wyoming rodeo team. At the Gymkhana, Scott was competing as part of the 18-39 age group rider category.

Karter Parker, Sadie Nichols, and Sage Cooley were double-event first place winners on the day. Their results and those of the other first-second-third place finishers are listed below.

Sit up straight, please

The science and mechanics of barrel racing and pole bending often determine who wins and who finishes in the middle of the pack. Advice from the online experts varies, but the consensus seems to be sitting up straight in the saddle as much as possible is key to winning. There is a natural tendency among riders to lean forward while riding, but this instinctive method has its drawbacks.

 “I like to lean forward but not too far forward because you’re putting too much weight on the horse’s neck,” declared Kennedy Kleinlein, 9, from Rock Springs. She added that the best position for riding is an even distribution of weight.

“It’s more of a personal question. Some lean forward,some lean back,” said Izabelle Pedri, already a veteran of the Gymkhana circuit at age 11 going on 12 soon. Pedri, from Rock Springs, added that she likes to lean slightly back while in the home stretch.

Another veteran rider, competing in the 18-39 age bracket, Stephanie Root from Pinedale, said she likes to lean forward “but I get yelled at a lot for doing it” from her husband when he’s watching her ride. “My horse is not a natural runner, so I have to push him a lot, going around barrels.” Root said that she sometimes leans forward “jockey style” to give her horse a momentum push.

Another Gymkhana veteran, Mishell Howard, said that she leans forward slightly when going around the barrels for momentum, and then sits more straight in the saddle on the straightaways.

Having a special saddle for barrel racing also helps. Kleinelein said her saddle was “half roping, half barrel racing” with a slightly lower back end.

Whatever position a rider takes, though, it had better be something comfortable for horse and rider, otherwise “you’ll be falling off your horse,” Scott said emphatically.

Queen competition

The Gymkhana Queen for 2022-2023, Brynn Abbott, 15, from Farson, got the event started by carrying the American flag around the arena during the national anthem. To win the queen competition last August, Abbott said she had to participate in a rein competition, give a speech, and do an interview. Abbott was also involved in the competitions.

Kleinlein was one of the queen’s attendants, and said that in addition to competing, her role  consisted of helping with timer, barrel and pole setup. Kleinlein competed bravely after suffering a riding injury recently.

The next Wild West Outlaws Gymkhana is scheduled for Saturday, December 17.

The Top 3 Category Results (by age group, with times in seconds):

Barrel Racing

Ages 6 & under

  • Wyatt Carpenter, 38.381
  • Karter Parker, 42.025
  • Kaisley Kennedy, 55.058

Ages 7-9

  • Kennedy Kleinlein, 16.54
  • Eberlee Okarma,17.545
  • Kennedy Kleinlein, 21.606

Ages 10-13

  • Sage Cooley, 16.288
  • Tenlee Maycock, 16.405
  • Tenlee Maycock, 18.079

Ages 14-17

  • Sydney Jones, 16.269
  • Kendra Huntington, 17.227
  • Kyra Folks, 20.721

Ages 18-39

  • Makenzi Scott, 15.821
  • Makenzi Scott, 16.054
  • Sandra Johnson, 17.406

Ages 40 & over

  • Patty Bindl, 16.307
  • Margaret Jones, 16.453
  • Mishell Howard, 16.800

Pole Bending

Ages 6 & under

  • Karter Parker, 59.615
  • Wyatt Carpenter, 63.469
  • Kaisley Kennedy, 73.791

Ages 7-9

  • Sadie Nichols, 22.088
  • Eberlee Okarma, 24.571
  • Sadie Nichols, 27.741

Ages 10-13

  • Sage Cooley, 22.323
  • Tenlee Maycock, 23.229
  • Andrew Degrassi, 26.98

Ages 14-17

  • Zoey Robison, 24.153
  • Kendra Huntington, 26.031
  • Kyra Folks, 29.125

Ages 18-39

  • Ashley Simpson, 25.949
  • Megan Matsuura, 26.686
  • Haylee Sheller, 26.845

Ages 40 & over

  • Dori Fritz, 25.813
  • Mishell Howard, 26.188
  • Kimberley Foran, 26.512

3rd event

Ages 6 & under

  • Karter Parker, 29.416
  • Brynn Dipiero, 34.295
  • Kaisley Kennedy, 39.214

Ages 7-9

  • Sadie Nichols, 13.222
  • Kennedy Kleinlein, 15.609
  • Kennedy Kleinlein, 16.339

Ages 10-13

  • Tenlee Maycock, 10.395
  • Andrew Degrassi, 10.57
  • Sage Cooley, 11.692

Ages 14-17

  • Kendra Huntington, 11.512
  • Lachelle Lilly, 12.378
  • Brynn Abbott, 13.021

Ages 18-39

  • Kaitlyn Duran, 10.735
  • Ashley Simpson, 11.479
  • Stephanie Root, 12.182

Ages 40 & over

  • Mishell Howard, 11.000
  • Kimberley Foran, 11.177
  • Celia Datteri, 11.605