O’Ferrell: Rodeo riding is in her blood

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2010

Like the old country song says, “It’s boots and chaps. It’s cowboy hats. It’s spurs and latigo. It’s the ropes and the reins, and they call the thing rodeo,” and that’s just what 13-year-old Bailey O’Ferrell knows best — rodeoing.

She spends three to four hours, three or four days a week practicing for this time of year.

The eighth grader at McKenzie High School has been rodeoing for four years and rides in the Alabama Junior Rodeo Association circuit as well as the Alabama Junior High Division of the Alabama High School Rodeo Association.

She does it all, when it comes to competing – barrel racing, poles, goat tying, team roping, break away and ribbon roping.

O’Ferrell’s ribbon roping partner is Opp’s Lucas Taylor, and the pair are the AJRA’s 2010 ribbon roping champions.

O’Ferrell’s mother, Stacey, said they travel almost every weekend from mid-September to June.

But, her parents don’t mind. In fact, rodeoing is a family tradition.

“I’ve grown up around horses,” Bailey O’Ferrell said. “Mom and Dad used to run barrels.”

The first time Bailey O’Ferrell got on a horse, she was 6 weeks old.

O’Ferrell, who is an only child, said that her fellow rodeoers are “like brothers and sisters.”

“The rodeo guys and girls are like brothers and sisters to me,” she said. “I keep in touch with them through Facebook and talking on the phone.”

Stacey O’Ferrell said their trailer stays full during rodeo season with Bailey’s friends.

“I like rodeoing, it’s fun,” Bailey O’Ferrell said.

In addition to the fun, O’Ferrell said she’s learned some valuable lessons.

“The luck of the draw – it doesn’t always go your way,” she said. “You have to hold your head high and go on to another event.

“You can’t always get what you want,” she said. “You have to work hard for it.”

O’Ferrell will participate this weekend at the ninth annual Alabama High School and Junior High Rodeo at the Covington Center Arena, which is sponsored by the Covington Cowgirls Drill Team. The event is slated for Saturday and Sunday.

The event begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with the junior division. Then Saturday night kicks off at 7:30 p.m. with the high school performance. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students and admission for children age 5 younger is free.

O’Ferrell mounts her horse. O’Ferrell will participate in this weekend’s ninth annual Alabama High School and Junior High Rodeo. | Courtesy photo