ASHLAND — The saddle that rests on Ashton Glascock’s horse is unlike any other in Missouri.
It reads “2011 Champion Breakaway Roper.”
Glascock, 16, was last year’s winner in the event at the high school state rodeo. Winning the event placed her on the elite Cinch Team, which consists of the winners from every event at the state finals. She is one of the youngest on the team.
She is hoping to win again at this week’s 2012 Missouri High School Rodeo State Finals, which take place Wednesday through Sunday at the Boone County Fairgrounds.
Being a part of the Cinch Team does not earn a competitor money or provide any sponsorships.
“It’s just a status symbol for being competitive,” her mother, Callie Glascock, said.
Although being on the team only results in one tangible thing, a T-shirt, it means a significant amount to its members.
“It’s an honor. It kind of shows how hard you work,” Ashton Glascock said.
She practices every day for two to three hours and competes in rodeos almost every weekend during season. But her work ethic does not just relate to working on her technique. She also has to care for her competition companions: the animals.
“If she doesn’t take care of the animals, they won’t take care of her,” Callie Glascock said.
Responsibility and respect are huge aspects of the rodeo.
It is full of “good, old-fashioned ways,” Ashton Glascock said. “It transfers over to real life. You have to respect the animals; you have to respect people.”
Currently, Ashton Glascock is in second place for breakaway roping in the state. She is first in the goat tying standings.
Breakaway roping requires the competitor to sit on a horse as a calf waits in a roping box. When the shoot is lifted, the calf barrels out and the cowboy or cowgirl must rope the calf. When they do, the rope will break off signaling the completion of the competitor's turn. In high school events, a time between 2 1/2 and 3 seconds is the goal.
With goat tying, the competitor races down the arena with his or her horse, jumps off, and ties three of the goat's legs together. They must be tied for six seconds.
Even though she was last year’s state winner in breakaway roping and went to nationals, Ashton Glascock has hit a bit of a slump. In contrast, she has seen more success with goat tying.
Before this year, she used the same horse, Buck, for both events. He is the horse she has been riding since sixth grade. Buck was not the best for goat tying, though. He did not prefer to run straight in the arena, and he dumped her off a few times.
The Glascocks bought a new horse, Roy, and he has helped her succeed in goat tying.
“Horse power means a lot in rodeo,” Ashton said.
Without a good horse, it is hard to compete well.
The top four competitors in each event go on to nationals, which will be held in Wyoming. Last year's breakaway roping victory was not Ashton Glascock’s first trip to nationals. She competed in the national junior high rodeo all three years of her eligibility.