Mandy Lane Emery, 17-year-old daughter of Merett and Michelle Emery, of Caraway, competes in high school rodeos all over Arkansas. She has traveled to Crossett, Fort Smith, and many other towns around the state this school year. She competed in 22 rodeos on the weekends throughout the year. The week of June 5 she competed in the State Finals Rodeo in Benton. Out of 45 pole benders, Mandy placed in the top four. This qualified her to compete in the National Finals at Farmington, New Mexico, the last week of July.
Pole bending consists of six poles made of PVC pipe. The first pole is placed 21 feet from the time line and the other five poles and in a straight line 21 feet apart. The horse and rider enter down one side of the poles, then zig zag through the poles, turn and zig zag back through the course. Now the horse and rider exit on the opposite side that they entered from. This is a timed event and a 5-second penalty is given for each pole that is knocked over. The horse and rider must stay in rhythm to get the fastest time possible.
Along with the trip to Farmington, Mandy received a belt buckle, team jacket, and gift certificates from western magazines.
Mandy has been running poles since she was five years old. This year she decided to stop cheerleading so she could spent more time riding. When asked, Mandy gives all the credit to her horse, Shorty, and says that this is the best she has done since the beginning of her riding experiences. All the hard work has now paid off.
Mandy will be featured on the Outdoors Channel at 10 a.m. June 23 and 7 p.m. June 25. This will give her friends a chance to catch Mandy and the rest of the hard working, great young high school rodeo athletes riding and roping on the Outdoors Channel. For possible schedule changes, interested persons can check www.rodeohigh.com. The riders will be featured on the National High School Rodeo Association's new rodeo telecast series called 20X Rodeo High.