Courtesy photo Bailey Vickers makes for a pretty picture while posing with her horse, appropriately enough, Picasso.
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published: Sunday, June 17, 2012
Bailey Vickers is giddyin' on up
By LAUREN WELBORN
There is no greater love on this earth than the love shared between a girl and her horse.
Sebring's Bailey Vickers was born in the saddle, decided to take up rodeo in the sixth grade and, needless to say, she was quickly hooked.
Now, more than six years later, Vickers plans on packing her spurs and schoolbooks as she continues her education as well as her rodeo career in Texas, attending Weatherford College.
Contrary to popular belief, rodeo is not just about barrel racing and bull riding.
Vickers is currently clocking around an 8-9 second run in goat tying, an event in which she shoots out the gate to later dismount her galloping horse to tie together the legs of a goat at the other end of the arena.
She also clocks an impressive 2-3 second run in breakaway roping, much like the popular image of rodeo in which the rider ropes a runaway calf and, once she has done so, the rope snaps when the calf pulls away, marking the end of the run.
Ever versatile and very skilled with a rope, Vickers also competes in team roping.
Team roping involves two riders, one that first ropes the runaway calf's front and the other to rope the two hind feet - all while the animal tries to escape - just to give a little insight into the athletic ability and horsemanship it takes to compete.
"I do different rodeo associations around Florida and we meet at different arenas across Florida once or sometimes twice a month and compete," she explained. "The season is from August to May and then the top four in each event go to nationals in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
Vickers has been honored with a number of titles as a result of her success, including being selected for the Bloomer Trailer High school Rodeo Team.
"It is a nationwide team and they pick three kids from each event to compete in Shawnee, OK at the International Youth Finals." Vickers explains. "I have been on the team for three years for breakaway roping, which is my favorite event.
Vickers shares that Bloomer has provided her with endless support and opportunities and considers this her best accomplishment to-date.
"It is such an honor to be on the team."
She also shared that she was introduced to a number of sponsors who support the Bloomer Team, including Bloomer Trailers, Justin Boots, Panhandle Slim, Cruel Girl Jeans, and Rock and Roll Cowgirl.
Again, the bond between a horse and rider is breathtaking; any cowgirl will tell you she is nothing without her best friend and partner in crime.
For Vickers, the horses that have carried her through her career are named Spiderman and Picasso.
She explained that Picasso is her team roping and goat tying mount.
"I have had him for a long time and he is very honest; he will do the same thing every time."
As for Spiderman, he is her breakaway horse and will be making the trip back to Texas with Vickers to compete.
"I got him two years ago in Texas. We really clicked and he has helped me roping a lot and he has a lot of speed."
When asked what drew her to Texas, Vickers explained that she wanted to rodeo in the southwest region, where Weatherford College happens to fall.
Weatherford is also a sort of home-away-from-home, as many of her close friends are in the area including her best friend Kylie Hamilton who will also be attending.
"I look forward to rodeoing in the next level of competition and getting better. I also can't wait to meet new people," Vickers said.
Along with the Bloomer Team, Vickers wanted to take some time to thank those who made her dream come true possible.
"I want to thank my parents for supporting me in whatever I wanted to do and hauling me all over Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Wyoming.
"I also want to thank Jason Hanchey, Jimmy Carter, Cheryl Lynn Mann, Clara Lou Carter, and Mike and Miles Ashton for helping me rope all these years and getting me to where I am today."
Academically, Vickers will be pursuing a major in marketing
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