Written by: Shawnee Sagers
In December during the 2020 National Finals Rodeo (NFR), five determined individuals were recognized for their hard work all year long. These individuals were the 2020 Resistol Rookies of the Year for the National Little Britches Rodeo Association (NLBRA). The Resistol Rookie is the competitor in each age group that has the most points at the end of the year and has never competed in the NLBRA before. Thanks to Resistol, Lane Howard, Brylee Hemphill, Kham Patterson, Rhea Fenner and Kash Woods had the opportunity to walk across the Rookie stage at Billy Bob’s Texas alongside the other distinguished cowboys and cowgirls that claimed the Resistol Rookie titles for the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and the Womens Professions Rodeo Association (WPRA), as well as numerous rodeo legends like, Tuff Hedeman, Trevor Brazile, Joe Beaver and Sherry Cervi.
After the awards ceremony I was able to get a chance to chat with the Resistol Rookies from the NLBRA and get to know them just a little bit better, here’s what they had to say.
Lane Howard, the 20-year-old from Sheridan, IL won the Senior(Sr.) Boy Resistol Rookie title. Howard along with his parents, Gerald and Brandy, host several NLBRA franchise rodeos at their home arena during the NLBRA rodeo season. He said “having the rodeos at home and not having to travel was really nice, it was also a huge help in being able to continue having rodeos through COVID unlike other areas that had to cancel rodeos.” In addition to winning the Resistol Rookie title Howard had other exciting memories at the 2020 NLBRA Finals as he also won the Sr. Boy All-Around Cowboy title and qualified to the Jr. Ironman where he will compete at the Lazy E in March. Howard stated “this is the biggest thing in his life so far!” When asked about his future plans, Howard will continue to rodeo in hopes of making the PRCA Great Lakes Circuit Finals. Looking back at his experience during the Resistol Rookie awards in Texas he said “it was a great experience being surrounded by so many winners.” As he continues his rodeo career he would like to take this moment to thank those that have gotten him this far including but not limited to the Franks Family and their support in horses, his family and everyone.
The Sr. Girl Resistol Rookie title was claimed by Brylee Hemphill, of Normangee, TX. The 16-year-old cowgirl worked hard to earn points towards this title, stating that “it was very busy and exciting getting to go to all the rodeos and meeting new people.” Though one of the biggest challenges throughout the year was “balancing grades, school activities and spending time with my friends while competing for my biggest title yet.” Winning the Resistol Rookie title and “walking across the rookie stage was amazing, because I had never experienced anything like it before. It felt like my hard work finally paid off!” As this accomplished and determined young lady continues with her rodeo career she is very excited to compete in the Junior American this coming March.
Rhea Fenner walked away from the NLBRA Finals victorious as the Junior (Jr.) Girl Resistol Rookie of the Year. The 10-year-old, from Lovelock, NV traveled many hours with her siblings and parents, Chand and Annmarie, to win this title. Looking back Fenner remembers being welcomed to friendly people and open arms her first year in the NLBRA Family. When asked about her experience in Texas, she said “being on stage was a little scary and not normal, she’s not good on stage and certainly not used to it.” Though this little cowgirl should start warming up to the spotlight, as she was not only visiting Fort Worth for the Resistol Rookie awards, but also to compete in the Jr. World Finals in the barrel racing and pole bending. Fenner hopes that in the future she can claim an All-Around Cowgirl World title.
Kham Patterson claimed the Jr. Boy Resistol Rookie title. The 13-year-old cowboy of Cleveland, OK said that “this win took a lot of heart and there was a lot of pressure.” He loved the experience, at Billy Bob’s, where he got to meet the legends he had watched on TV in person. Patterson would like to extend a thank you to his family, his horse and God. In future plans this tenacious cowboy hopes to win and All-Around Cowboy title and a Bull Riding World Championship, but “this Rookie title was extra special, not only is it something you can only win once, it was incredible to win it with my sister, Kash Woods.”
The Little Wrangler (LW) Resistol Rookie Title was also taken back to Cleveland, OK. 10-year-old, Kash Woods came out on top after a long year of rodeo. The Rookie title wasn’t originally a goal of Woods, but when her brother was chasing the title she decided to try as well. Kham and Kash’s parents, J.C. and Alicia, hauled the siblings to many rodeos throughout the year. Woods, mentioned it was a really tough title to win as she didn’t do so well in the beginning of the year, but it started getting better and finals was great or has her brother, Kham, puts it “she had lost hope but spanked them at finals.” For Woods being on the Resistol Rookie stage was overwhelming and she was very nervous but it is something she will remember forever. She hopes that as she moves into the Jr. Girl age group her brother and her can claim the Ribbon Roping World title together. Woods left me with extending a hand of thanks to her “parents for letting her go to all the rodeos.”
Update from the National Office.
Attn all NLBRA members,
As 2020 comes to an end we would like to take the time to thank you all for a very challenging year. This year has brought un foreseen challenges that no one could have ever anticipated. Viruses, storms, and very challenging economic times showed challenges to the rodeo world like never seen before. However, you all supported the NLBRA and made it one of the best years yet, you continue to support your local franchise rodeos and your support has proven once again there are no better families than “Rodeo Families” and for that I would like to thank each and every one of you.
The board continues to meet regularly to discuss ways to improve and make each finals a better experience than it was the year before. They have decided to extend the National Finals out to 13 performances this year. Check in this year will be on Sunday July 4th by 3:00 pm with the mandatory contestant meeting being that evening at 6:00 pm. Rodeo will start Monday morning and run two performances per day through Saturday and finish up on Sunday with the short go. The hope is that this will allow our NLBRA Families to enjoy more time together, allow shorter performances so they won’t have to start so early in the morning and stay up so late in the evening, and take time to visit the local area and attractions. Please note that all entries will be taken online this year for the NLBRA Finals so if you need help or have questions feel free to contact the National Office in advance to prepare for this. The entries will open up in May and remain open for 30 days so continue to watch for updates.
If you put a deposit down on your camp spot during the 2020 finals the deposits will be due no later than January 29th. Remember that deposit is nonrefundable, if you have questions please contact the National Office prior to that date. The regular camping and stalling will open up in March watch for more information to come available on that.
For updates regarding camping and stalling release, upcoming rodeo schedules, current standings continue to check our website at www.nlbra.com or feel free to call the National Office at 719-389-0333 for any questions you have. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Executive Director NLBRA
Written by: Annabella Chapman, 2021 LW Princess
If someone asked me last summer what being a rodeo queen is like, I would tell them it all
happens at the arena, but what I have learned this year is that Mama and I spend as much time
packing as we do at the rodeo!
And, who agrees? Sometimes you just have to tell Dad that it’s better to have it and not need it
than need it and not have it! Options! We need options!
This month, we have loaded the trailer with my Scott Thomas saddle and I traveled to L.B.
rodeos around my home state, Texas. I am goat untying and flags racing on my new horse, Jeri,
and we’re getting along just fine.
At the beginning of December, I packed up my favorite outfits and accessories, added a matching
mask, and took off to Arlington, TX to watch the Wrangler National Finals. My first NFR was
extra special because I watched the first ever National Finals Breakaway Roping!
During the day, we walked around Cowboy Christmas, Stetson Christmas, and the Stockyards. I
met with sponsors and thanked them for their help along the rodeo road. One day, we went to
Cavenders, and I was on a radio broadcast for Cinch, too!
At the rodeo performances I attended, we sold raffle tickets for the NLBRA Scholarship Fund,
and Wrangler gave us tickets to sit and watch the rodeo one night!
I couldn’t believe how many people I met that still had arena dirt on their boots after each round.
They’re rodeo legends in the making!
I’m very grateful NLBRA gave me this opportunity. It was a highlight of my year! We had a
wonderful time in Arlington, but we were also happy to pack up and head home. .
But, like the draw, sometimes things are in your favor and sometimes they aren’t. This month, I
also lost my Mimi. The NLBRA pageant in July was a special memory for my Mimi and me. She
never missed a rodeo. But now, my Mimi doesn’t just watch me ride. She rides with me. The
most important thing I’ll pack from now on are my memories, and I hope you will too.
What can you say about 2020? We counted our blessings. Let’s all dust off our hats, and in our
prayers, ask the Lord for a little luck. I tell Him we’ll do our best to handle the rest!
Written by: Shawnee Sagers
The year 2020 had many of us down and put several things on hold for a lot of people. That was not the case for 9 year old Izzy Coughlin, of St. George, UT. This little cowgirl made her mark in the history books of rodeo in 2020, in July she took home the National Little Britches Rodeo Association (NLBRA) Little Wrangler (LW) World Champion Barrel Racing saddle, though that was just one of the titles she would claim in 2020. Later in the year Coughlin made the trip from UT to Fort Worth, TX to compete in the Jr. World Finals in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. At the end of a long week she claimed the Jr. World Champion Barrel Racing title as well.
Joining the NLBRA Family at the age of five, Coughlin has been a member ever since. Just one short year later, at the age of six, Coughlin started getting a need for speed, it was on her mare Sunny that she learned to go fast and she hasn’t slowed down yet. After leaning and growing with Sunny Coughlin stepped up to Joe Dynamite, the horse that helped her win two world titles in 2020. She describes Joe as “an incredible teammate that she is so blessed to have.” Coughlin describes her accomplishment as “a dream come true! The competition was tough, but good ole’ Joe pulled through.”
Coughlin got her horse Joe, by chance. He originally joined the Coughlin family for her 16 year old sister, Adi, who started focusing on soccer more than rodeo. “Lucky me!” exclaimed Coughlin. Her brother, Junior, doesn’t rodeo but is a huge supporter of hers when not on the football field.
This coming year Coughlin looks forward to learning more about the sport of rodeo and toward having the chance to compete at the NLBRA Finals and the Jr. World Finals again in 2021. In addition will be adding barrel racing futurities to her list as she is excited to compete on her Blazing Jetolena filly this year.
When Coughlin isn’t chasing the rodeo trail she stays very active training miniature horses. When not on a horse, big or small, Coughlin enjoys snow skiing the UT slopes or relishing the waters of Lake Powell. On top of all these accomplishments this little cowgirls speaks Chinese.
Coughlin is certainly leaving her legacy in the sport of rodeo. When asked what advice she could give to other competitors working towards their goals she said “Always be willing to learn or adjust and focus is key. I try to always have my head in the game because I know my teammate does!”