Competing at the Youth World Show has been a year in the works for Keely Lane of Amarillo, Texas. It started with checking out APHA’s coverage of the show online and perusing the Journal’s Facebook photos from the show before escalating to covertly exploring exactly what it might take to saddle up at the premier Youth competition.
“I’ve been rodeoing my whole life. Last fall, I kind of looked into this show without my mom knowing,” Keely said. “I thought maybe I could compete on my horses, so I wanted to give it a shot.”
Originally planning to compete aboard her primary Paint, the 2003 sorrel tobiano mare Sensational Spark, Keely’s best-laid plans went array.
“Around Thanksgiving, she started limping. We took her to a vet, but it wasn’t getting better going into the spring, so I decided to switch horses.”
Lucky for Keely, a special back-up horse was waiting in the wings: Walking Eagle, a 1998 sorrel tobiano gelding by Hawkeye Warrior and out of A Little Tyme (QH).
“Walking Eagle has been part of my life since day one; he’s one year older than me, and our birthdays are two days apart,” the 16-year-old said. “I have been riding ‘Walker’ my entire life—he’s the first horse I started rodeoing on, and he’s taught me a lot. I hadn’t ran barrels or poles on him in a couple of years, but I knew that it wouldn’t take much to refresh his memory, so I began getting him ready for the Youth World Show.”
Sometimes, things just work out for the best, and they certainly did for Keely at her first Youth World Show, which was her first non-rodeo horse show. With a smile on her face, Keely captured a world championship in Youth Heeling 18 & Under; reserves in Youth Steer Stopping 18 & Under, Youth Heading 18 & Under and Youth Goat Tying 14–18; and Top 10s in Youth Pole Bending 14–18 and Youth Stake Race 14–18. The duo was also the High-Point Power Performance reserve champions, netting another $1,000 scholarship on top of the $1,700 earned in classes.
“It’s a lot different than a normal rodeo because of all of the different events. It’s pretty cool to see it all,” she said. “I’m looking forward to going to school and continue competing. If you’ve never shown before, it’s OK because you won’t be the only one, and you will be welcomed by all. No matter your circumstance, just give it a shot—who knows what will happen.”
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The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.