Shelby Young has been riding horses since she has been able to walk.
Rodeo runs in her family. Her dad was a top high school competitor from West Orange in his day.
Rodeo culture is part of her DNA.
Young competes in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and breakaway roping. She currently is ranked No. 9 in senior girls’ all-around competition in Texas Region 5 according to the Texas High School Rodeo Association (THSRA). She most likely will compete at the state competition in Abilene later this spring.
“I’ve been competing in the THSRA since the sixth grade,” said Young, currently a senior at Buna High School. Our family has five horses I manage, which involves keeping them housed, fed and ready for competition.
“I rope calves three times a week and try to tie a goat every day. We had to make a recent run up to a facility for me to work on my barrel racing. We didn’t get home until three in the morning.”
Teaming with horses brings a different dynamic to the sport of rodeo where the rider and animal act as one in a symbiotic virtual jazz duo.
“I know every move my horse is going to make out in the arena,” said Young. “With barrel racing, you are putting your life in their hands. They have to know what to do and can they handle the ground. It’s a game of trust with a very strong bond between you and your horse.
“We spend a lot of time getting our horses ready for competition with practice and making sure they are in shape and prepared.”
Young travels to over 30 rodeo events during the school year and also keeps a very active school schedule at Buna. Along with the vigors of her rodeo responsibilities, she is Buna High Schools Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter president, a member of Student Council, an Officer for National Honor Society and is taking college dual-credit and honors classes.
When she finds time, she also judges horses for FFA.
Youngs plans on attending Stephen F. Austin University in the fall and wants to study veterinary sciences.