Born to ride

Published 1:55 am Saturday, September 19, 2009

From the very first time she saw a horse, Lexie Keahey knew she wanted to participate in rodeo.

“I’ve just always liked horses,” said Keahey, now 16 years old. “I started going to ‘Fun Days,’ which are these little shows where kids can see horses and be around them. And then I got interested in the junior rodeos, and I’ve been in rodeos ever since.”

Keahey is one of many local competitors who will fill the Covington Center Arena this weekend for the Alabama Junior and High School Rodeo, which is a fund-raiser for the Covington Cowgirls Drill Team.

She participated in her first junior rodeo in third grade and has been an avid fan of the competition ever since.

“I go to a rodeo almost every weekend,” she said. “Usually they’re here in Alabama, but occasionally I’ve gone to other states like Mississippi and Florida. Then there’s the international competitions and national competitions, which have been in Texas and New Mexico. It’s definitely fun to compete here in Andalusia, though. All your friends and family can come watch you perform, and I think it makes it more exciting to have people there cheering for you.”

Keahey practices often on her family’s property, and this weekend she will participate in barrel racing and breakaway roping. Breakaway roping is a girls event, where competitors try to lasso a cow around the neck, with the rope detaching afterwards and the fastest time winning.

“We can run a cow out of the chute here and I can practice my roping that way,” she said. “We’ve got a nice little ‘arena’ that’s fenced in and I can practice my events right here in Andalusia and don’t have to go anywhere else, which is nice.”

Keahey said even though her family loves to ride horses on trails, she is the only member of the family who currently competes in rodeos.

“Nobody else really does it,” she said. “I picked it up on my own, and I love it. I’ve made a lot of friends from the various rodeos I’ve competed in. It’s definitely something you have to be dedicated to. You’ve got to like being outdoors and around animals, but it’s a lot of fun.”

Keahey has already earned several awards through her rodeo pursuits, and hopes to join a college rodeo team after finishing high school.

She is the daughter of Randy and Kim Keahey of Andalusia, and has a 12-year-old brother, R.J.