Cloutieville sisters AnnaMarie and Allie Grace Pierce competed in the Louisiana High School Rodeo Association’s Junior High Finals on May 22-26 and the High School Finals competition on May 27-June 1 in Lake Charles.
And of course, the sisters brought home some hardware. Allie Grace won awards for Rookie of the Year in goat tying and for placing 4th in the state in the goat tying competition. AnnaMarie won awards for Rookie in barrels, breakaway, goat and all around rookie cowgirl. She also placed 2nd in barrels and 4th in goats.
AnnaMarie said she started riding horses before she could walk. Her dad Steve, who used to team rope, takes his daughters everywhere and helps them practice daily at their home arena.
Competing and practicing take up a lot of time, so the girls are homeschooled. Their mother Jennifer said this affords them the flexibility to travel and compete.
“The girls are competitive against one another, but they’re also great at lifting each other up,” said Jennifer.
Fifteen-year-old AnnaMarie and 12-year-old Allie Grace started riding competitively at the Silver Spur Riding Club in Natchitoches when they were 4-5 years old.
“We do a lot of it together,” said AnnaMarie. “Everywhere I go, she goes. “And we couldn’t do it without the support of our parents.”
She went to Nationals in South Dakota twice in jr. high and loves the friendships she made on her journey. “It’s also great how everyone cheers you on,” she said.
AnnaMarie loves competing and she wants to continue. Sure there’s slumps to go through, but it’s just mental. What’s important is to keep working and get better. It takes some athleticism, a dash of fearlessness, and lots of practice until it becomes more natural.
She has three quarter horses. She rides Miracle for barrel racing, Gidget for goat tying, and Harley for break away. Their next competition is the National Little Britches Rodeo Association event in Oklahoma where they’ll compete against thousands of kids. Then AnnaMarie goes on to the National High School Finals Rodeo, the “World’s Largest Rodeo,” featuring approximately 1,500 contestants from across the US, Canada and Australia. Athletes vie for national titles, assorted prizes and their share of thousands of dollars in college scholarships.
“It’s a blessing they’re able to do this,” said Jennifer, who also said the family puts God first in all things. “Riding and competing is a great family oriented activity. We travel all over the state and across the country.”