Sizemore angling for pole position
“She could ride before she could walk,” her mother Dawn said.
Sizemore will take her rodeo pedigree with her next week as she competes in pole bending at the Texas High School Rodeo Association’s (THSRA) state finals on June 13-19 at Abilene’s Taylor County Expo Center.
If she finishes in the top four, Sizemore will qualify for the National High School Finals Rodeo July 18-25 in Gillette, Wyoming.
The Thorndale High School junior qualified for state finals after finishing in eighth place in the Region X contest.
The top 10 finishers from each of the 10 regions will be at the high school state finals, so Sizemore will compete against 99 other cowgirls. Pole bending competitions are set for June 15-16.
Sizemore’s great-grandfather Cecil A. Hill was a rodeo producer across the state and was also one of the founders of Austin Livestock Show and Rodeo, now known as the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo. Hill was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2004.
Sizemore’s grandparents, Donald and Donna Shiller of Thorndale are in the livestock business, as they owned Taylor Livestock Auction for 32 years and also have a deep rodeo history.
Donna qualified for the National Finals Rodeo twice in barrels and Donald was a member of a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo steer dogging team.
Her other grandparents, who are just as proud, are Carole and Larry Wood of Austin and Bill and Fonda Sizemore of Canyon Lake.
The teenager’s rodeo connection continues with her parents Trey and Dawn. Trey is a steer wrestler and member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Cowboy’s Professional Rodeo Association.
Dawn attended three THSRA state finals herself in multiple events and finishing in the top 10 more than once.
Tandy’s sister Tiffany, a senior at Texas A&M University, was also competitive in THSRA and qualified for the state finals in barrels twice and was a multiple qualifier at the world finals of the National Barrel Horse Association as well.
The teenager’s favorite part of the rodeo lifestyle is not all horses and competitions–it is the relationships.
“My favorite part is the people,” Sizemore said. “They are lifetime friends, generation after generation.”
Sizemore lives a busy rodeo life, but still manages to be involved in many other extra curricular activities.
As a member of both Milam and Williamson County 4-H clubs and Thorndale FFA over the last few years, where she has also served as an officer, Sizemore has won numerous awards.
Just this year she showed the second place Charolais at the 2010 Houston Livestock Show.
Sizemore had been a Top 10 year-end winner in the Texas Junior Livestock Show Association multiple times and has placed in county and major shows with goats, sheep and swine.
Sizemore, whose future goals include attending Texas A&M University, is also involved in varsity girls track at THS, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, is a member of First Baptist Church-Thorndale, is the 2009 Bulldog Football team sweetheart and is a trainer for the Thorndale football and baseball teams.
The last in that list makes things a bit busy for the young lady this week. As she prepares for the state rodeo finals next week, she was helping in the dugout as the Bulldog baseball team participated in the state tournament in Austin.
Sizemore’s family tree breathes the rodeo life so making the state high school finals was at the very least expected of her. However, this finals appearance almost didn’t happen.
Two weeks before this season’s THSRA competitions began, Tandi’s barrel horse (Sizemore is an avid barrel racer as well) almost died.
“I started the year on my grandmother’s horse, then two rodeos into the season my pole horse had to be retired because of blindness,” Sizemore said.
She then had to compete in poles on her mother’s barrel horse that had never competed in that particular event, only during practice runs at the family’s homestead.
Apparently no one reminded the horse of it’s inexperience, as the horse name Peace, has carried Sizemore all the way to the state finals.
Through all the trials and tribulations this rodeo season, Sizemore has stood strong.
“I believe when one door closes another one opens. And never give up on your hopes and dreams,” she said. “I was very blessed when both of my horses were injured. I was able to ride my mom’s horse. Prayers are answered every day.”
As for as her future in the sport, she does see it as ongoing.
“I could see myself rodeoing the rest of my life, it goes hand and hand with my interest in being an athletic trainer,” Sizemore said. “I just don’t know if it’s cowboys and cowgirls or baseball and football athletes. But I do know I want to be an athletic trainer.”
HIGH SCHOOL FINALS
Who—Tandy Sizemore of Thorndale.
What—63rd Texas High School
Where—In Abilene at the Taylor
Contestants—675 in 12 events.
Why—To earn a trip to the National
High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette,
Wyoming, July 18-25.