By RON PRESTON
Some families have nannies or full-time babysitters to help raise their children. In the case of the Bryant sisters, Mickey a 22-year-old quarter horse, helped their parents in guiding this rodeo family.
The Bryant sisters grew up in rural Dickinson County and all three have been members of the Bankes Barrel Racing team over the years.
This year, the youngest Kylie, 9, will ride Mickey Saturday night at the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo.
“Riding Mickey in the barrel Races at the Wild Bill Hickok rodeo has helped me be a better rider,” Kylie said. “Mickey is an awesome horse and has helped me win a lot more races.”
Kylie just placed second at the Holton Rodeo and she finished in first place at the Kansas Junior Rodeo Association in Topeka.
Started with Chelsea
Mickey and the Bryant’s all started with Chelsea, the oldest daughter, a Hope High School graduate and now a member of the rodeo team at Northwestern Oklahoma State College in Alva, OK.
“I had Mickey since I was four years old so he’s kind of my baby and we’ve grown up together. He is just a one of kind of a horse. He really took care of me growing up and we’ve grown together and I think that has helped me be a better rider,” Chelsea said.
“All the things he has helped me with, he has taken me to the pay window so many times. He’s just an awesome horse and gives a 110 percent every time he’s out there. He’s pretty awesome and I’ll probably not find another one like him,” she added.
“I have a horse named Chico that I use in college and I rope on him. I just got him last summer and he has taken a lot to get used to after riding Mickey for so long, but’s it’s been good,” Chelsea said.
When Chelsea graduated from high school and took off for college, Shelby, the middle daughter, got her turn with Mickey.
Now it’s Shelby’s turn
“My experience with Mickey was awesome. I started riding him when I was a freshman in high school because the horse that I had before him was too old and I knew he would be too slow. Chelsea was going off to college and she wasn’t taking him with her so I got the opportunity to ride him,” Shelby said.
“I rode Mickey for poles and barrel racing in high school rodeos and we placed in the top 10 in both my freshman and sophomore years and this year I placed 12th or 13th,” said the senior to be at Clay Center High School.
“Being on the Bankes Barrel Racing Team, last year was my greatest experience cause I knew that this would probably going to be the last time I ran him for the pro rodeo and I knew he was running really well and was giving me a 100% during the barrels. It felt like a completely different experience than running in a high school rodeo, NBHA or just another high school rodeo,” Shelby said.
Kylie rides Saturday
According to her sisters and her father Mitch, Kylie doesn’t usually get nervous about riding until right before the ride. Kylie is not scheduled to ride until the final night of the rodeo on Saturday night, so maybe the nerves may set in a little sooner.
“I’ll probably get a little nervous waiting until Saturday but my plan is just go fast and have fun,” she said.
One year left for Shelby
“I do poles and barrels in high school rodeos. Team roping is more up my alley than breakaway roping, that’s Chelsea’s event. She’s really good at it and I think she got the gift of it, because I would rather rope a steer and calves. I never roped off of Mickey, just barrel racing,” Shelby said.
“It’s hard with a new horse. I just have to be patient because with Mickey, he did it all. Now I have to do my thing and ride my horse like I am supposed too,” she said.
“The horse that I have now just turned five and she is a lot younger than Mickey, so it takes a lot more work on my part.”
“I’ve missed some college visits this past year due to some surgery that I had to have which caused me to do what I wanted, so I don’t know exactly where I am going to college after graduation. I want to study accounting and then I am pretty sure I want to go to law school after that,” Shelby concluded.
Chelsea finishes college
“College is going good for me. I like it in Alva. It’s been a big change. I went to Colby Community College for two years and then transferred to Northwestern,” Chelsea said.
“It’s been an experience that’s for sure. Our coach is Stockton Graves and he has been to the NFR several times and I really like him. I think he is a pretty good coach really and I am excited to see what this next year has to bring,” Chelsea added.
A horse is a horse of course, of course, but there will only be one Mickey – just ask the Bryant sisters.