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Williams holds her own at rodeo

'If I look at the ground, I bust. I gotta keep my head up.'

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Sixth-grader Mallie Williams hops off her horse in the goat tying competition.

Caroline Britten

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Livestock has always been a major part of Mallie Williams’s life.

Sixth-grader Williams is a true country girl at heart, and has participated in the Junior American Rodeo Association since she was 5. She competes in barrel racing and goat tying.

A couple of weekends ago, Williams competed in Woodward, Texas. Despite her goat standing up on the first day and her time being slower than preferred on the second day, she placed third in goat tying with Cowboy, her horse.

Williams said she gets nervous about goat tying. “I don’t ever know if I’m going to stand up or not after I hop off my horse,” she said. “If I look at the ground, I bust. I gotta keep my head up.”

Williams has won many awards throughout her rodeo career. Saddlebags, spur straps and belt buckles are a few of the many trophies that line Williams’ shelves. She always goes into barrel-racing competition with her other horse Elsie, and a self-proven effective strategy.

“Just go as fast as you can without hitting the barrel,” she said.

Williams has competed in countless locations. Her favorite rodeo, however, occurred only 30 miles away from home, in Pampa.

“I got second [in Pampa] and won $75,” Williams said. “Mom suggested I spend it on school supplies, but I didn’t.”

Cowgirl runs through Williams’ blood. Her mother and supporter, second-grade teacher Julie Britten, has always been active in rodeos. She teaches Williams’ tips and tricks learned from first-hand experience.

“My mom helps me,” Williams said. “She helps me come up with ways to go through the pattern with my horse, so I don’t hit barrels.”

Her mom says she not only enjoys the practice they do together, but also the success that practice achieves.

“I feel proud when she accomplishes goals she has set,” Mrs. Britten said.

According to the sixth-grader, countless memories from competing in rodeos flood her mind.

“I don’t have a favorite thing about competing in rodeos. I like it all,” Williams said. “I do enjoy being with my animals and friends.”

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