KAYSVILLE - Shalee King of Kaysville was born with rodeo in her blood.
From the time she could walk, King has been competing in rodeo events across the state and throughout her junior high school years.
Now, competing as a freshman for Davis High School, King went on to win the “rookie of the year” in high school rodeo after competing in the Utah High School Rodeo Association championships, which took place in early June.
That honor has garnered her some tough competition, but it’s something she is used to seeing on the rodeo grounds on an everyday basis.
“She’s been competing for a long time and has gone to some big competitions, so the pressure for is nothing new,” said Jann King, Shalee’s mother. “She’s competed with professionals too, and has been to the junior high finals twice, so she can handle it.”
The whole family can handle it when it comes to the rodeo grounds, said Jann. The youngest of four children, Shalee has watched her siblings compete in competitions and took to rodeo like most other athletes take to their sport: as a child and a fan.
“She’s the baby in the family, but it’s what we’ve done our entire lives,” Jann said of competing in rodeo events. “She loves to go out there and compete.”
Shalee’s high school finals were highlighted by a first place finish in cow-cutting and a ninth-place finish in the barrels events.
She also finished 12th in breakaway roping and fifth in pole bending.
Her high finishes earned her a trip back to the short round, where only the top 15 competitors get the chance to compete for a title.
She missed becoming an all-around champion by 15 points, but garnered the rookie of the year distinction.
“She’s been going up against tough competition all the time,” Jann said. “She’s used to the pressure. We feel very proud of her and what she’s done.”
Cow-cutting, as described by King, is an event where a competitor chooses a cow and puts it into the competition area.
The goal is to keep the cow from returning to its herd for as long as possible.
The hardest part is the rider has no control over the horse; they have to take their hands off the reins of the horse the entire time.
“You have to have trust in your horse,” Jann King said. “The horse has to do the work, so being able to trust it is key in that competition.”
Breakaway is another form of calf roping, but the calf isn’t thrown down or tied. Instead, a rope is placed around the calf’s neck and signals for a horse to stop.
The rope is then tied to the saddle horn with a string. When the calf hits the end of the rope, the rope is pulled tight and the string breaks, marking the end of the run.
Shalee is currently in Nevada competing in a different competition, but will soon be heading to nationals.
This year’s nationals competition is being held in Rock Springs, Wyo. and will take place on Sunday, July 13.
For more information about Utah High School Rodeo Association visit uhsra.org.