This article was written by BenitoLink intern Eden De Alba. Editor’s note: This article was updated to correct the name of the high school. The previous version referred to it as San Benito High School but the Board of Trustees changed the name to Hollister High School on June 28.
Hollister High School student Rylee Roberts will be participating in the National High School Rodeo Finals in Gillette, Wyoming, on July 17-23. Roberts, who will be joined by five other San Benito County residents in the competition, was crowned California High School Rodeo Association Queen on June 18.
The other county residents in the competition are Trista Reid, Billy Aviles, Vince Nino, Tristan Schmidt and Brett Pura.
The competition will feature team roping, pole bending, and barrel racing as well as speeches, modeling, and interviews for the queens. Rylee will compete against 42 states and 3 provinces- DC, New Zealand and Canada.
She qualified by winning five of the six queen competitions and said she is confident she will do well in the finals with support from her family and fellow San Benito County residents who are competing.
“It’s the most incredible feeling ever,” she said. “You can see all the girls looking up to you and everyone is always watching you so it can be a little bit stressful, but it’s a really cool feeling.”
Rylee’s mother, Stacie Roberts, said she is proud of her daughter for going above and beyond in rodeo.
“She’s very well rounded in rodeo and has participated in many of the events,” Stacie said.
Stacie remembers her daughter participating in the Saddle Horse Parade since she was four years old. She recently participated in the San Benito County Rodeo, where results are currently pending. Before Rylee was born, her father was a competitive roper who participated in rodeos as well.
Later on, Rylee entered high school rodeos to show her skills and become a bolder person.
“I used to be the shyest person ever,” she said. “A year ago, I couldn’t even answer an interview question for my mom. I had to learn to get out of my shell because as rodeo queen you have to interact with a lot of people.”
Rylee said she looks forward to the finals and left some advice for anyone involved in sports or competitive activities: “Don’t be afraid, and try your best. I’m sure you will fail, but the more you fail the more likely you are to work even harder and you will become successful.”
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