In the May/June issue of Western Horse Review, we searched out some of the most accomplished and influential youth in the western horse industry and compiled our first-ever Young Guns – Top 25 Youth Under 25. We came up with six categories: Ambassadors, Artisans, Entertainers, Competitive, Entrepreneurs and Science. From self-discipline to unwavering focus, we were reminded that the dreams often fostered in young minds and hearts can translate to adulthood, and that good old fashioned determination can still achieve what many think is impossible. We loved the true western code of ethic each of our top 25 exude.
It evolved into such an inspiring piece we decided to recreate it online, with the fuller interviews and stories of each of our deserving Top 25. Look for them here at Screen Doors & Saddles over the next six months, as I\’ll reveal one every week or so!
Rylee McKenzie(Nominated for Competitive) Age:24 St. Paul, Alberta
Don’t let her age fool you. In professional rodeo, Rylee McKenzie is not the new kid on the block. It’s been ten years since McKenzie broke onto the Canadian Pro Rodeo (CPRA) scene and in that season, she won the CPRA Ladies Barrel Racing Permit Award for earning the most points in her rookie year.
Since she has gone pro, McKenzie has qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo two times. Her horses are fast, her goal is to win, but furthermore to McKenzie, she believes that being a barrel racer is a noble profession.
“A barrel racer symbolizes an idol, a role model, a professional, a lady, and must be elegant at all times,” said McKenzie. “So many young girls look up to more experienced barrel racers and they should represent the best version of themselves.”
According to McKenzie, her mom Debbi has been a great inspiration throughout her rodeo career.
“My mom did a great job, making sure I had horses to be competitive on.”
At this point, McKenzie said there are two dreams she still has in her mind.
“The first being to make the NFR and the second is to see a horse I\’ve trained take someone to a major set of finals like the CFR or NFR.”
While growing up around horses and rodeo, she said barrel racing at a high-end level has always been a priority. With McKenzie’s gallant track record, being in the lead is the only place where this cowgirl aims to be.
~ By Deanna Buschert