STEPHENVILLE (June 7, 2018)– Stephenville High School Class of 2016 graduate Lariat Larner will compete next week in the 2018 College National Finals Rodeo in both goat tying and breakaway. Larner begins competing on Sunday at 4 p.m.
“What I’m most excited about is finally getting to live out my dream from when I was a little girl,” Larner said. “I’m so excited to go and compete with the best of the best.”
Larner began riding horses by herself at six years old and began going to rodeos at seven or eight. She competes in goat tying, team roping and breakaway.
“Goat tying is the most exciting because, whenever you tie goats, you run down there and tie the goats as fast as you can,” Larner said. “You’re flying. It’s wild. It’s always been one of my favorites because of that.”
Larner began competing in goat tying at nine years old and began roping at ten years old. She competed in rodeos through high school and advanced to state every year in junior high and high school.
“So this is my first trip to nationals,” Larner said. “I am so excited. I had two knee surgeries in high school. I’ve had a few obstacles to overcome, so finally getting to go has always been a goal of mine. It’s pretty cool too that I get to go in two events. That is a special thing too.”
Not only is Larner competing in two events, she is competing in two events on the two horses from her childhood. Larner will ride her favorite horse, Ellie Mae, which she has had since sixth grade, in goat tying and will ride Jed, which she got as a sophomore, in breakaway.
“In rodeo world, it’s really rare to keep a horse that long,” Larner said. “As I’ve gotten better, Ellie Mae has gotten better with me.”
Larner considers it “a miracle” she got to rodeo for South Plains College on scholarship at all. Larner tore her ACL, twice, and her meniscus, and she was on crutches during recruitment time.
“I had a few friends that spoke up for me, and I had a coach that took a chance on me because she had only seen old videos,” Larner said. “It was cool that he gave me a chance to come and gave me a scholarship.”
Beginning this fall, Larner will transfer from South Plains to Tarleton State University as a math major. She will also compete on the Tarleton rodeo team in team roping, breakaway and goat tying.
“[Stephenville] is my hometown too, but I’ve always loved it here,” Larner said. “I’m really excited to come back here because of the community, and I love how they support the rodeo world.”
Larner’s mother, Jodi Larner, teaches at Gilbert Intermediate and Larner’s father, Marty Larner, shoes horses in the area.
The rodeo will be live streamed Wednesday through Saturday on ESPN. Find out how to stream or watch online at the NCFR website.
“There is nothing to lose and everything to gain up there,” Larner said.