Jessica Lane, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
McKenna Rogers, age eight, rode her way to the top of the Little Britches Rodeo at the Grady County Fairgrounds last weekend.
She won the title of All Around Champ and placed as Champion in barrel racing, pole bending, flag racing and goat tail untying.
It's been a long ride. This year, McKenna has competed in 24 regional competitions, Autumn Rogers, McKenna's mother, said.
McKenna and her parents, Autumn and Dan Rogers, live in Cement, Okla. Autumn and Dan have a business in Chickasha, Low E.T. Logistics.
McKenna will be going in at number one in the nation in her age group of Little Wranglers at the National Little Britches Finals Rodeo at the Colorado State Fairgrounds that start next week. Six states, including Okla. will be represented at the finals.
The Rogers will leave for the 12 hour drive on Friday with three horses in tow. The trip will include breaks every four hours for the horses.
McKenna has been riding since she was two years of age and started competing about a year ago.
To be the best, a Little Britches Champ has to stay in the saddle. McKenna rides three horses every day or every other day. She practices vigorously with her trainer, Kendall Owen. McKenna said that her favorite event is barrel racing followed by pole bending.
How does McKenna get the horse to do all of these fantastic feats? Horse riding, McKenna said, involves using the reigns and leg pressure.
"If you don't have reigns, the horse is going to go where it wants," she said.
Training and competing won't stop when summer ends. When McKenna starts again at Cyril Elementary as a third grader, she will still be making time to ride along with reading and arithmetic. But being a champ comes with a price.
"She sacrifices a lot," Autumn said. "She gives up a lot to be where she's at." McKenna can't always make it to her school friends' birthday parties when a rodeo is taking place at the same time. However, she has made a lot of rodeo friends who can relate to some of the problems a wee cowgirl faces.
McKenna remains a good student. After having to miss a few days of school, she once impressed her teacher by making it all up in one day.
Her love of horses also factors into her enjoyment of reading. She said her favorite book is "Horse Magic" and she also likes the Magic Treehouse Books.
Born to steer, whether horse or machine, McKenna also enjoys drag racing.
McKenna and her family would like to give a hats off to Mr. K's Paint and Collision, Travis Dent Repair, Nancy Davis, JAL Consulting, Chickasha Country Store, Dunn's Food Center, Dr. Pepper, Southern Hills and Vickie McCoy for lending Yodi, the horse she rode at the Grady County Fairgrounds.