The SandHills Stock Show and Rodeo draws competitors from near and far.
Some take advantage of the nearness, while others have changed far to near.
Friday’s performance at Ector County Coliseum included Odessa barrel racer Katelyn Lide Scott, while Saturday’s schedule includes bareback rider Harry Ash who is originally from Mossvale, New South Wales, Australia.
Both competed for Odessa College with Scott earning two trips to the College National Finals Rodeo as a Wrangler (2010 and 2011). She earned a third CNFR bid for Eastern New Mexico in 2013.
Scott, who also trains barrel horses in addition to competing, said having a major rodeo in her hometown was too convenient to pass up.
“When you’re rodeoing, you’re gone a lot, so any time you get to be close to home is a privilege,” she said. “It makes it worth it and I’m very thankful for having such a good rodeo close.”
A five-second penalty for knocking over a barrel left Scott with a time of 19.41 seconds on Friday’s run.
Scott, whose father, Dr. Henry Lide, has a veterinary practice in Odessa, practically grew up in the sport.
“My parents both had me on a horse before I could walk, so I was kind of born into it,” she said.
Ash, meanwhile, took a more circuitous route to competing professionally, not getting started riding until he was 17.
“I’d always wanted to come over here,” Ash said. “I’ve got some family that live in Colorado and I’d been over a few times and just always loved it over here.”
“When I started rodeoing a bit more seriously back home, there’s only so far you can go with it. It’s just much bigger and better over here. There’s 100 times more rodeos and a lot more money up.”
Ash, who still lives at Gardendale since getting his PRCA card, served a three-year apprenticeship to become a certified retail butcher in Australia before getting his opportunity to come to the U.S.
“I just wanted to come over here,” he said. “I was driving to work one morning and (former Odessa College rodeo coach CJ Aragon) messaged me on my phone. He was like, ‘do you want to come over here and rodeo for us?’
“I thought that was the perfect opportunity. I’d get to come over here and practice twice a week and rodeo. I came over and didn’t look back.”
Scott finished 37th last year in the WPRA world standings competing on a somewhat limited schedule.
“My goal was to try to get into the winter rodeos,” she said. “I pretty much accomplished that. There’s still a few I’m waiting to see if I get in or not.”
“It’s been a great year. My horse had colic surgery in midsummer and I had to ride my mom’s horse most of the year. She did exceptional. I couldn’t be more grateful.”
In addition to her 9-year-old mount, Scott trains horses for her own use and others. She also helps other barrel racers with their horses.
“I do ride a lot of outside horses, usually fixing a problem or just giving them more experience,” she said.
Scott said there’s not specific timeline she employs when it comes to getting a horse ready for competition.
“Every horse is different,” she said. “You really can’t put a time on it or a date. Each horse is just kind of their own and they have to come into themselves. For me, it’s anywhere from six months to two years on training them. It just depends on the horse.”
For Ash, joining the pro ranks has been a gradual process.
In 2017, he was the Colorado Professional Rodeo Association Bareback Rookie of the Year and competed on the Mountain States Circuit.
“My first year over here, I just did college rodeos and a few amateur rodeos and stuff like that,” he said. “I was trying to figure it out over here. My second year, I got my permit and did a few (pro) rodeos here and there, but just kind of stuck to the college and the amateur rodeos.
“The past two years, I’ve been stepping it up more now and now I’m here full time.”
The decision to try rodeoing as his sole occupation was one Ash said he just had to make.
“It’s too addicting,” he said. “When I graduated, I went home for a couple of months and was back doing a bit of work and this and that. It made me go, ‘this ain’t for me. I’ve got to go back over there and keep rodeoing.’”