For many Van-Far athletes participating in the Fall, they enjoyed the opportuntity to represent the district in football, softball, or cheerleading.
While that is the typical journey for members of the student body, junior Kayelee Harrower’s love for the rodeo has taken her to an arena very few students in the state have an opportunity to reach.
Harrower is representing the Vandalia area as a competitor in the Missouri High School Rodeo Association.
“It’s a really neat organization that not everybody (gets to be a part of),” said Kayelee’s mother Karen Harrower.
Kayelee’s season started on September 6 in Braymer, Mo., where she qualified for the state championships in pole bending with a fifth place finish after a solid time.
Harrower is currently ranked in the Top-15 in the state in the event.
She also participates in barrel racing.
In the Fall semester, Harrower also competed in two-day events at Ashland, Gainesville, Palmyra, and Humansville.
She will also be participating in the Spring semester, scheduled for February-March.
In order to compete, Harrower must earn good grades in school and has to raise her own money to pay for entry fees and other related travel expenses.
“It takes a lot of dedication,” Harrower added. “It’s taught me to be independent because my parents might not be right at my side helping with the horse, the saddle, (etc.)…I’ve met a whole bunch of people that I can talk to and relate to with me….It’s built my confidence and has taught me a lot.”
While Kayelee continues to improve at each event, the need for funding becomes greater.
Currently, fees just to compete average around $110, which doesn’t include cost to upkeep her horse, lodging, food, etc.
She said she’s thankful for the support she’s currently received from Vandalia Firestone & Appliance, Pizza Hut, Midwest Heating and Cooling, 54 Package, Countryside Manor, Carpenter and Co., and the Family Pharmacy.
Some other sponsors have already given her a commitment to support her effors during the Spring semester.
Her goals include earning possible scholarships to compete on the collegiate level in the future.
Area competitors include students from Frankford, the Mark Twain School District, and Auxvasse.
To sponsor Harrower and her efforts, those interested are encouraged to call her mom at 573-473-2563.