ELDORADO, OK (KSWO) - A teenager from Eldorado is preparing for the National High School Rodeo Finals next month after she qualified by placing third last week at the Texas High School Rodeo state finals. Layton Butler competed in a riding event called breakaway against 101 other girls and was one of just four competitors to earn a spot at nationals.
Even though she's from Oklahoma Layton has always competed in Texas, starting with horse shows and a Junior Rodeo Association based in Texas. When she got to high school, she didn't want to stop riding with the friends she had made, so her family asked the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Athletics Association to let Layton compete in Texas instead of Oklahoma and they granted her the transfer.
The 16-year-old competes in breakaway, a timed calf-roping competition in which the rider's rope is attached to the saddle horn. When the rider ropes the calf, the rope breaks away from the saddle and releases a small pop-up flag to let the judges know to stop the timer.
She said she enjoys the event because it's a team effort between her and the horse.
Layton said she's still in awe of being in the top four at the state finals and getting to go to nationals, considering she was sitting in 10th place as they approached the final event.
"I told my mom, 'I'm just going to go for it because I really have nothing to lose'. So, I went for it and ended up winning the short round and when I won the short go, it pretty much just gave it to me," Layton said. "It was heartwarming. I was like 'wow, I just did that, I just accomplished my dreams'. It was great. My heart is just overwhelmed."
Layton spends anywhere from one to three hours a day riding and rides in rodeos two to three times a month except during basketball season.
"I love it so much like I can't wait to ride when I get home," Layton said. "It's just amazing.
"And she has no plans of stopping anytime soon as she heads into her junior year of high school.
"I just want to go big," She said. "I want to try to win everything I can, accomplish every dream I've ever had and hopefully go to the college I'd like to go to."
If you'd like to see Layton ride before she goes to compete in National High School Rodeo Finals she's riding in Mangum this weekend.