Lowndes Co. girl shines at AJRA finals
Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 18, 2013
Hannah Rogers is not your typical 13-year-old.
A student at Lowndes Academy and a resident of the Letohatchee area, she loves horses and competing in rodeos.
The daughter of Angela and Joey Rogers, her mother taught her ride horses, and she has been riding since the age of 3.
“And I just loved it so much that I kept practicing,” Hannah said, “and finally I decided that I did want to participate in the sport of rodeo and not just practice at my house. And it turned out to be a great experience, and I’m loving it very much.”
Hannah participated in the Alabama Junior Rodeo Association finals held in Pensacola, Fla., June 5-8 where she finished in sixth place for Rookie of the Year honors.
Her mother, Angela, said the association is a non-profit organization formed to keep the heritage of rodeo alive.
At the finals, Hannah won belt buckles for being named Sportsmanship Girl for 2013 and First Alternate Junior Rodeo Queen. She also won a halter for being named Miss Congeniality and a halter for the accomplishment earning her way to the finals.
At Lowndes Academy, she was valedictorian of her sixth grade class and won seven academic awards in her seventh grade year.
She said she likes reading.
Because in the past kindergarten students competed against eighth graders, Angela said she held her daughter out of competition until this year. However, she said, as the result of a vote, the Alabama Junior Rodeo Association will now have age divisions.
Hannah competed this year in barrel racing, pole bending and goat tying.
She explained that in barrel racing one rides a horse in a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels as fast as possible. In pole bending, one weaves his/her horse in and out of six poles. And in goat tying, she said one rides the horse fast to the goat, jumps off the horse while in motion (at least Hannah does) flips and ties the goat.
It should come as no surprise where Hannah gets her skills. He mother competed in ranch rodeos and did cattle work.
“I didn’t want to push her,” Angela said. “You have to commit. There is no coach telling you, ‘OK we’re having team practice.’ You and your horse are a team.”
Angela stressed there is a lot of work involved and a lot of responsibility not only for practice but taking care of and grooming one’s horse.
The Rogers have four horses and a few cows.
Hannah said she rides all four horses “but there’s two of them that I take to the rodeos with me and participate… Chester and Sadie.”
Hannah said, “Horses have that special ability that they’re able to connect with you and you’re able to connect with them. And I always feel like that my horses are able to understand me, and they just give me comfort.”
She said they know when you’ve had “a wonderful day or a terrible day, “and whenever I go out there, they just make my day wonderful.”
As to her daughter winning the Sportsmanship Award, Angela said, “Whether she had a good run or a bad run that day she came out smiling because she had fun, she enjoyed it.”
The Lowndes County Farmers Federation, Endless Seasons Outdoors and Black Ridge Land Co., sponsored Hannah.
Hannah said she would recommend rodeo to other youngsters “because it’s a lot of fun and it really helps with your confidence level.
She also said, “I know I have made friends that I will have for the rest of my life. And rodeo is just kind of like a second family because everybody there, they just come together. They support each other and they just help each other out.”
She said, “If something of yours breaks or you run out of something somebody who’s got it says, ‘hey I’ve got one that you can use.’”
Hannah said she wants to become a veterinarian and to become Miss Rodeo USA to meet as many people as possible to teach them about Jesus.
“They say that the Lion is like the king of the jungle, so, Jesus could have come back on a lion because He is a king, the king of all kings, but He chose a horse, a beautiful white horse,” Hannah said referring to the Bible and Revelation. “And I think they are so special because of that and Jesus has given me the opportunity to be able to participate and that I do have wonderful horses that I am able to bond with, and I have such a good relationship with Jesus that I am able to bond with Him so well.”
Before attending veterinarian school, Hannah said she would like to compete on the Troy University Rodeo Team.