At 15, Sarah Toole, of Rydal, Georgia, is already an accomplished roper. She’s currently occupying the No. 1 spot in the USTRC Cinch Ladies Standings in team roping and, in 2019, she was the GJHSRA All-Around Champion, which she followed up by clinching third place in the team roping at Nationals. Then, in her first year competing at the high school level, Toole again found her way to Nationals, this time in the breakaway.
“My first round at Nationals, I won 11th or 12th in the first round. I was a 3-something. I came back on the second round, and I wasn’t in the Top 10 or nothing, but I came back in the short-round a pretty good callback. I can’t remember what callback it was, but I didn’t do no good in the short-round. It was a still a pretty good accomplishment for me for my freshman year in high school. It was an amazing opportunity for me, just a freshman, to be able to rope with them girls out there. That was in Guthrie, Oklahoma, this year.”
Toole has seen the recent growth in the sport of breakaway and wants to be ready to capitalize on the opportunities it now provides.
“I've been really trying to work on my breakaway,” Toole admitted. “Team roping, it’s always come easy to me because my dad, he’s always roped real good and he’s always helped me when I was younger. But breakaway, it’s been a struggle for a little bit, but I've just been really working on that. I know how much breakaway has been coming along in these past few years and how big it’s gotten and that’s making me want to step my game up a little bit more. It's making me strive to want to get better at it.”
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Toole is chasing her breakaway goals astride her calf horse, “Tigger” (Good Bayou Chics), whom she trained herself.
“I’ve been riding him for three years now. At first, it was a hard time … [we did] mainly box work. I finally got him in the box and got him good in the box. He’ll just sit there good. We struggled with that for a quite a good bit. He's a really nice calf horse. I’ve just got to haul him a bunch of places. Get him used to it.”
Again, Toole was motivated by the increased level of competition she was seeing in the breakaway.
“About a year, I come to my dad and I said, ‘I see all these other girls out there roping and we’re going to sit down in the practice pen and we’re gonna go slow with him and score a bunch of calves and get him good in the box.
“We got him,” Toole continued. “We finally figured out what bit and everything else to use on him. And we finally got him. That was about a year ago.”
With things getting dialed in, Toole and Tigger are eyeing up Georgia’s Southeast Mega at the end of the month.
“It's always a really big calf roping. We’re trying to get ready for that. Me and my sister, we’re trying to get ready for that. And trying to ride my calf horse better and rope every day, just as many days as we can.”