STEPHENVILLE (June 6, 2018) — Milestones are plentiful for Tarleton State University senior and rodeo team member Rylee Jo Dick.
She graduated with a degree in kinesiology in May and qualified for the June 8-16 College National Finals Rodeo for the third time.
On her first trip to the CNFR in Casper, Wyo., she was breakaway roper on the Odessa College team. This year, the transfer student from Oakley, Utah, will have a member of the Odessa College men’s team — brother Kyler — supporting her drive to an individual national title.
Kyler is a steer wrestler at OC. He took fourth place in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southwest Region and is in Casper with the men’s team that qualified for the CNFR by finishing second to Tarleton in the regular season.
“This is my last year to qualify, and I’m so excited I get to share the experience with my brother.”
Rylee, who was named Western Junior College Athletic Association Women’s Athlete of the Year in 2015, captured the regional breakaway roping title for 2018 and is one of two women from Tarleton who qualified for the CNFR.
“Rylee is a veteran to the CNFR, and she has a strong competitive side,” said Brittany Bell, women’s rodeo coach for Tarleton. “Everything really clicked for her this year in the breakaway. She set her sights from the beginning on what she wanted to accomplish.”
Rylee moved to Texas after high school to compete as a soccer player before rodeo became her priority.
“I knew I wanted to rodeo in college because it would help me pay for everything,” she said. “When I came to visit Odessa, I knew I wanted to be in Texas. After I got my associate’s degree there, I visited the Tarleton campus and just fell in love. I knew that’s where I needed to be. I’ve loved every second of being here.”
Her championship season included a first-place finish at the Sul Ross rodeo, a third at Ranger and sixth at Odessa.
With previous experience at Casper under her belt, she knows what to expect.
“I’ve been there twice before and I know how it’s all set up,” she said. “I have a good horse underneath me. I’m pretty confident.
“I want the mindset that it’s just another rodeo, so I’m just going to keep practicing, keep roping and keep my mind sharp.”
After Casper, Rylee plans to work as a certified nursing aide with an eye toward beginning nursing school in the fall.
She’ll be the student with the CNFR championship buckle over her purple scrubs.