By: Julia Dondero
All eyes will turn to not one but two 14-year-old cowgirls from Seguin, Texas, as Kelsie and Kylie Reininger look to make history this October at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, NC for the World Champions Rodeo Association (WCRA) Rodeo Carolina. With both cowgirls entering the competition in the top 16 of the Breakaway Roping leaderboard, they will compete alongside many of their idols.
So, how do two eighth graders find themselves competing at one of the largest rodeos East of the Mississippi?
It first starts with the love and passion for the sport. Both Kelsie and Kylie Reininger expressed their unwavering dedication to the sport of roping from a young age. Since the moment the twins first picked up a rope, they have yet to set it down- and they don’t intend to any time soon.
“We have been very grateful for amazing opportunities to learn how to rope. Our Dad has always supported us and pushed us to enter up and gain our confidence,” explained the twins, whose Father also competitively team ropes.
The duo also spends most of their days starting and ending in the practice pen. Bearing the sizzling south Texas heat and taking turns running more cattle up to the rope, the twins have dedicated their time and energy to one of their greatest passions,roping. While it may sound like long days to some, for the Reininger girls, it’s simply what they love to do.
“We are so blessed with our family and a strong support system that cheers us on, regardless of the outcome. Spending each day roping is our passion, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” explained Kelsie Reininger, who currently sits in eleventh place on the Rodeo Carolinas Breakaway Roping leaderboard.
What the youthful cowgirls lack in age, they make up for in determination and ambition. This gritty mindset has placed the Texan Breakaway Ropers at the top of the pack, regardless of age or division. With an expansive career ahead of Kelsie and Kylie Reininger, the twins expressed their career goals of success within the WCRA, Women’s Rodeo World Championship, and the National Finals of Breakaway Roping.
“Breakaway Roping has come so far. I feel blessed to rope on these stages and for large amounts of money. It’s my passion to do this, and I wouldn’t want to do anything else,” expressed Kylie Reininger, who will compete for her piece of the exciting $400,000+ payout in North Carolina, atop of her 9-year-old equine partner “Tyson,” who has elevated her roping to the next level.
Entering one of rodeo’s most prominent stages can be nerve-wracking to anyone, but the Reininger twins will stomach the butterflies with grins on their faces, ready to cheer each other on.
“We both aim to keep it simple, rope our best, and keep preparing for the event,” said Kylie Reininger, who also explained she is typically the more high-strung roper and Kelsie Reininger keeps the duo calm, cool, and collected.
The duo, who have balanced each other out since birth, explained they shifted their mindsets to focusing on the calf at hand, and it’s all business when they get back into the box.
Kelsie, who will rope off her trusted all-around horse, “Snowman,” enters Rodeo Carolinas in sixteenth place and expresses her gratitude for their parents and supporters who have coached and cheered them on.
“Kelsie Domer and JJ Hampton are two of our biggest role models. We currently have Kelsie [Domer]’s horse, Roanie, who has greatly helped our roping. We are so grateful for her and our many supporters,” said Kylie Reininger.
The duo, who looks to make history at Rodeo Carolina as two of the youngest and most competitive Breakaway Ropers, also expressed their gratitude for the many opportunities created by the WCRA.
“It’s a dream to compete against our idols. We are both grateful to the WCRA for these opportunities and the chance to grow our skills and confidence at this level,” reflected Kylie.
As the twins look to make history at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, all eyes will be on the duo as they back into the box. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is sure- the duo will be all smiles and ready to rope their dreams, one calf at a time.