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.”