A Williams Lake cowgirl has punched her ticket to the National Junior High School Rodeo Finals and the Canadian Junior Rodeo Finals.
Brianna Billy, a Grade 6 student at Mountview Elementary School, finished fourth in barrel racing during the May long weekend at the Junior High School Rodeo Finals in Hudson’s Hope, qualifying her for the B.C. National Junior Rodeo Team and the B.C. Junior Canadian Rodeo Team.
The National Junior High School Rodeo Finals run from June 22-28 in Des Moines, Iowa, while the Canadian Junior and Senior Rodeo Finals will be held from July 24-26 in Nanton, Alta. Both events will feature athletes from grades 6-9.
At the junior rodeo finals Billy posted times of 16.6 seconds in round one, 16.9 seconds in round two and 17 seconds flat in round three.
Meanwhile, in pole bending, she missed both the national and the Canadian team by just one placing.
Billy was the only junior rodeo competitor from Williams Lake to qualify for the NJHSRF and the CJSRF.
The top four athletes at the junior rodeo finals earn a spot at nationals, while the top five competitors gain a berth to Canadians.
“It’s an honour and a great opportunity for me to be able to represent youth in the sport of rodeo,” Billy said, adding barrel racing and breakaway roping are her favourite events.
“It’s fun doing these events. I like roping and I like riding my horse.”
Her horse, Annie, has been Billy’s companion since it was a baby.
“I’ve been riding her for three years. She’s 11. When I first got her she was too strong for me, but a few years ago [I figured out] she wasn’t as strong so I went from there.”
Billy rides Annie at least three times a week in preparation for both the national and the Canadian finals.
She added she hasn’t set any goals for herself in terms of where she’d like to place, however, noted it will be tough competing against older competitors.
“It will be a challenge,” she said.
“But I’m just going to go and have a good time and not worry about it too much.”
If anyone would like to help Billy with sponsorship to attend the event contact her mom, Sharon Stolz, at firstname.lastname@example.org.