Rope 'em Cowgirl

Published 10:10 am Wednesday, June 8, 2005

By By Tim Cottrell
Many older Americans bemoan the lack of activity from the current generation of youths progressing through our school systems, saying they spend too much time inside and don't get outside and work – or play.
That is not the case for 13-year-old Cheyanne Buckhault of the Little Rock community. Not only is she an honor student at J.U. Blacksher in Uriah, she also has managed to turn into quite the rodeo competitor.
Buckhault, who has been involved in rodeo since she was in second grade, said that one thing got her interested in participating.
"Watching Cody Kent (another local cowboy, who is currently competing in high school rodeo) made me want to do it," she said.
Buckhault's mother, Monica, agreed that that alone had been the catalyst.
"She saw him roping at his granddaddy's house and decided she wanted to do it," she said. "So it's his fault, but we enjoy it."
Buckhault's hard work has paid off, as not only will she compete in the Alabama Junior Rodeo Association (AJRA) State Finals in Montgomery this weekend, she will also travel to the National Junior Wrangler Association (NJWA) Finals in Gallup, N.M., next month. She qualified for that tournament in April.
The Jr. Wrangler Division is an entity of the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA), and is completely separate from the AJRA. Nine Atmore-area youths compete in AJRA rodeos, while Buckhault is the only local competitor in Jr. Wrangler.
Rodeo has been quiet over the last several months, allowing competitors the time to prepare for the state finals. Cheyanne said she had been working hard.
"I've just been practicing roping the dummy and driving my mama and daddy crazy," she said. "I hope I do well. I've been placing in the top ten pretty consistently."
Cheyanne also remembered some of her first days learning rodeo.
"I started out doing barrel racing and pole bending, but I didn't like those," she said. "We did that for my first two years and then switched to goat-tying, team roping, and breakaway roping."
Buckhault qualified for the trip to New Mexico in goat tying and breakaway roping, as well as in ribbon roping.
In addition to her time on the rodeo circuit, Cheyanne has found time over the last several months to hit the beauty queen circuit as well.
"I was the first runner-up in the Miss Cotton Blossom pageant," she said. "I was a homecoming maid for the seventh grade at J.U. Blacksher. It's kind of an odd mix, I suppose."
Monica said that while she and her husband had supported Cheyanne wholeheartedly, they had never pressured her to become involved in rodeo, and they loved being able to help.
"We always told her if she doesn't get it at first there's plenty of time," Monica said. "But we also told her she's got to put 110 percent into everything because we always support her. We started out slow, but her dad and I both enjoy it. I only have one child, but I think of all the other kids as mine, too."
Monica continued, "It may be expensive…"
"…but it's worth it," Cheyanne said.

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