Rylie Edens got the redemption she was looking for on Thursday, April 27, 2023, at the USTRC National Finals Breakaway Championships in the Total Feeds 15 & Under Breakaway with a composite of 7.07 seconds on three head to win the average, worth $4,320.
The money brought her weekly total to $13,306, which includes two go round checks from the 15 & Under for $1,096 and $730.
Despite her impressive collection of earnings, Edens, from Hillsboro, Texas, wasn’t satisfied with her performances in either the Open Breakaway or the 19 & Under Breakaway that had taken place the two days prior. She was high callback in the short round of the 19 & Under but missed her throw for a $6,050 check.
“Yesterday [during the 19 & Under,] I tried to keep myself calm, but I watched so many girls go out there and make amazing runs,” Edens, 14, explained. “I was worked up and I was high call, so I tried to take a shot that wasn’t there. I should have gone another jump.”
It’s a hard lesson to learn no matter the age of the roper, but Eden is moving forward with the knowledge of a seasoned pro.
“I think [the problem] is that I’m 14, and I think I can go fast and win everything instead of going and seeing the minimum time I have to rope in to win. I need to go get my three calves roped and whatever happens, happens.”
What followed the Wednesday mishap included tears, frustration and aggressive dummy roping that ended with Edens, a freshman in high school, being accidentally smacked in the face with her own rope. After a night of restless sleep and reflection, she was ready for the 15 & Under on Thursday.
“My plan today was to get on the horse I know I could be fast on: my mare Tater,” Edens explained. “She’s good for one-shot rodeos because she’ll start taking my throw away. Today, I did the two rounds on her so I could get a good average time, then I rode my mare Tinkerbell for the short go.”
Tinkerbell is an ex-goat-tying horse that Edens has managed to start breakaway roping on. From spinning in the box to antics after the rope has popped off, Tinkerbell is… special.
“She’s coo-coo,” Edens said. “But she is so honest and breaks so hard to the calf. I’ve had so many people tell me, ‘You could do so much better if you get off that donkey.’ But in the field, she’s so free and I can reach off of her and she won’t shut me out.”
Edens entered the 15 & Under twice, which gave her some needed wiggle room on performance. She made the short go as sixth and first high callback.
“The first entry I had, I came back in the short go as sixth high call,” Edens said. “And I was hoping to move up a spot in the average, but the calf ran hard, and I reached. I dropped my elbow and missed. On my second entry in the short go, I knew what I had to be and planned to go an extra jump to get it roped.”
Rope she did, capping off her go round times of 2.35 and 2.84 with a 2.86-second run in the short round. For her victory, Edens gathered an H4 Saddle and Gist belt buckle in addition to her earnings.
This is the first year the USTRC held the Total Feeds National Breakaway Championships in conjunction with their mega USTRC Cinch National Finals of Team Roping, and ropers of all ages have praised the score and consistency of calves.
“The setup with the electric eye barrier was nice, and it runs faster,” Edens said. “It’s easier to see the start because you know where [the laser is]. You can see how far you’re off the barrier, which helps me.”
Speaking of starts, her win at the USTRC Total Feeds Breakaway event may be exactly what she needs to boost her through the next few months. Edens competes in volleyball, basketball and track, and she’s qualified for the Texas High School Rodeo Finals in June in the breakaway and poles. First, though, she’ll be competing at the WCRA Corpus Christi Rodeo and the Women’s Rodeo World Championships in Fort Worth.