Linwood girl’s passion for rodeo continues to grow
It only took a family trip to the Shrine Rodeo to set Emmie Noyes on a new path.
The Linwood girl was 8 years old when she visited the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds in Tonganoxie to watch the Shrine Rodeo. It was that year the horse “bug” first bit her.
As she watched the cowgirls in the barrel racing, she told her mom and dad that’s what she wanted to do.
At the time, the Noyes family lived in the Kansas City suburbs, and “I laughed,” her mother, Lisa, said. “I thought to myself, ‘we don’t have anywhere to keep a horse. That’s a whole lot of infrastructure we don’t have.’”
But Emmie persisted, and within a year, she was taking riding lessons. She learned everything: not only how to ride, but how to brush and care for a horse and saddle it.
And as Emmie got more serious about her horses and riding, the family decided a move to the country was in order. They had wanted to move out of the suburbs anyway, and having Emmie care for her own horses was a good idea, her parents thought.
“Even though we could pay someone to care for the horse, we thought she should have the responsibility of doing it,” Lisa said.
They moved to Linwood in 2011, and as Emmie’s skills at riding progressed, she took on more activities.
She began barrel racing training with a Tonganoxie cowgirl, Emily Holton, who competes professionally, and as she’s gotten better, the family has purchased horses with more skill and speed for the event.
Emmie’s expertise has grown to where she competes in the Better Barrel Races, a regional association that hosts barrel races. She’s also competed at a few Little Britches Rodeos, which are youth rodeo events.
And she’s adding to her rodeo repertoire, with pole bending, a horse and rider weaving a serpentine pattern around six poles arranged in a line, and goat tying, an event where the goal is to ride the horse to where the goat is staked in the arena, dismount, and tie three of the goat’s legs together in the fastest time.
She’s grown through the process of caring for and riding horses, her mom said.
“It’s been amazing,” Lisa said. “She doesn’t seem to get her feelings hurt over drama and nonsense, and she doesn’t get involved in the interpersonal drama at school, and it’s because of the horses. She’s very confident, too. It’s a confidence with silent strength.”
Barrel racing has also kept her humble, Lisa said. “She’s had victories, and we’ve been to (barrel races) where she’s pulled good checks. But she hit barrels (adding a five second penalty to her time) at three (barrel) races this weekend (in late April). She knows when it’s her fault versus something her horse has done, and it’s put into her a degree of introspection that as a young girl is pretty impressive. She knows not to take it out on the horse when it’s not his fault.”
Emmie, whose grandfather, Ken Holliday, is an Abdallah Shrine member and has helped with the Shrine Rodeo, competed at last year’s rodeo but didn’t win a check. She plans on entering this year as well, along with her trainer Emily Holton.
And she’s ready for the challenge.
“Last year it was really fun,” Emmie said, “and a little scary.” This year, she’s familiar with the arena, and will have her own fan club cheering her on in the stands.
All because a little girl wanted to be a cowgirl.
Emmie is an eighth-grader at Basehor-Linwood Middle School where she is on her school’s Gold Honor Roll.
John and Lisa also have a son, Zane, 10. And her grandmother, Ken’s wife, Marcella, is very supportive of her granddaughter’s activities.
The Shrine Rodeo is Thursday and Friday, with a demolition derby Saturday. The show begins at 7 p.m. each night and includes vendors on site, a swap meet for auto parts each day, and inflatable games for the kids. Rodeo tickets are $12 for adults and $4 for kids ages 6-12; demolition derby tickets are $12 for everyone ages 6 and above. Family fun packs, good for the rodeo only (on May 21-22), are $40 and include two adult tickets, two children’s tickets and four meal deals. They are $40 through May 15. After that day, they go to $50.
Tickets can be purchased online at ShrineRodeo.com or at the gate. For more information, visit the website or find the rodeo on Facebook.