PANORAMA - Many in Walla Walla High School Rodeo Club raised on rodeo



Carley Frazier rides her horse Rio through the poles.


Walla Walla High School's Ashlee Abrahamson looks for the next barrel during a rodeo hosted by the WaHi Rodeo Club.


Future all-star cowboy Preston Frazier.


Simon Quackenbush rides down on his steer during the street wrestling competition at the rodeo.


Moses Frazier mentally prepares for steer roping.

Rodeo is a different world.

The tools of the sport include leather, rope, bridles and bits.

In rodeo, the "athlete" can refer to horse or rider - and the objection could be tying a calf, hanging on to a bull or rounding barrels and poles.

It's a team sport, but the team might be much simpler - one horse, one rider.

Rodeo, more than some things, can become a lifestyle.

So when the five members of the Walla Walla High School Rodeo Club come together to play, they take their work home with them, whether or not it includes prizes. The five members of the team come from different high schools and have different backgrounds.

Wa-Hi student Simon Quackenbush started riding lessons and was later introduced to rodeo.

"It's a lot of fun," he said, resting after a team roping event at a recent rodeo the Walla Walla club hosted. "I can't really explain it. It's exciting, and it's good teamwork with my horse."

Quackenbush didn't grow up with rodeo. It was a new experience for him and his parents.

But some of his teammates were born into it.

Carley Frazier and Moses Frazier, both of Touchet, grew up with lassos and cutting horses.

Their father, Troy Frazier, is Washington State High School Rodeo Association president, and sister Courtney rides rodeo for WWCC.

"We're a big rodeo family," Moises Frazier said.

Troy was the Bob Feist Invitational team roping champion in 1989, and now helps with coaching at the community college. He's also the president of the Washington High School Rodeo Association.

In world where cowgirls with braces text from horseback, it's still the partnership with the horse that matters.

"It's the relationships I have with my horses ... It's a great bond," said Ashlee Abrahamson, who has been riding with the Walla Walla rodeo club for about two years.

Abrahamson lived in Walla Walla last year but has since moved to Omak, Wash.

She makes the 230-mile trip for rodeo every weekend, in addition to the time spent traversing the state for competitions.

"It's not that far," she said of the four-hour drive.

Abrahamson barrel raced and did breakaway at a recent rodeo the Walla Walla group sponsored.

She rode Bo for barrels and Gray for breakaway.

They are two of the 12 horses she rides and works with, and eight of those are colts.

She trains her horses, and keeps an eye on their breeding, she said.

All of them are appendix, which is half Thoroughbred - better known for running long distances and races - and half Quarter horse, a typical cowboy breed.

Competition, and seeing who can ride better, faster and longer, is part of the deal for Touchet's Bo Segerman.

"You're supposed to ride the horse, and then get bucked off," he said of an early dismount in bronc riding that disqualified him.

Segerman grew up on horseback.

"I've been riding since I could sit up," he said.

"This is an individual sport," he said. "You're not part of a team. I mean, you are, and your scores count in team scores, but all of the events are about what you can do, and what you and your horse can do."

Segerman has had his 10-year-old horse for eight years, and saddle-broke him, he said.

Since his horse shares property with his family in Touchet, balancing rodeo and equine care with school isn't a great challenge.

"I come home, rope 'till it's dark, and then do school work," he said.

Segerman wants to win all around champion at the state level, and has started watching his points, he said.

And when these students move past high school and to college or professional competition, or stick with riding for pleasure only, there will be another generation picking up the reins.

Four-year old Preston Frazier, Troy's grandson and Carley and Moises' nephew, was hanging out by the fence during the Walla Walla high school rodeo. Covered in dust and hat by his side, Frazier's not yet old enough to be on the big horses.

But, he says, he's going to be in the arena one day, too.

"When I grow up, and get big and turn into someone else, I'm going to do rodeo, too," he said.

And that day isn't too far off.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment

Click here to sign in