Levelland High School senior Kenzee Kent signed a letter of intent to join the South Plains College Rodeo team in the Levelland High School Library Tuesday.
Kent has been competing in rodeos for 12 years after being introduced to horses at a young age.
“My grandma, Kay Wood, got me a miniature pony when I was 3 yeras old and my whole life changed. From that point forward, I started riding and competing in rodeos,” explained Kent.
Her first memory of the sport was when she participated in the West Texas Rodeo Association (WTRA).
“The first time I competed, I was in the five and under division at the West Texas Rodeo Association. I was really nervous because I had never competed before. It was tough, but I wanted to show everyone I could do it,” said Kent.
“I still get nervous before events, but what athlete does not get nervous before they compete. I really love what I do and I live for the adrenaline rush you get competing in front of hundreds of people,” added Kent. “Again, it can be a little nerve racking, but it is also comforting at the same time.”
Kent competes in three events: breakaway, goat tying and barrel racing.
“Breakaway is my favorite event. It is the event I practice for the most and probably what I am best at, honestly. I really have a passion for it,” Kent said.
“For practices, I usually ride a little over three hours a day. I also have to diet and strength train to stay in shape for roping and goat tying,” says Kent.
“I get home from school usually around 4 p.m. and then I go straight to workouts. Most nights I get home between 8:30 or 9 p.m.,” Kent continued.
“From day one, I have always wanted to be the best, but I think everyone wants to be the best at whatever they are doing; especially athletes, so that has been my goal from the start. Do not get me wrong, I absolute love riding, but I want to be the best,” she stated.
Helping Kent with her training is Jackie Crawford and Jarrard Hoffasetter.
Crawford has won 14 Women’s Professional Rodeo World Titles and was the first woman to qualify for the American semi-finals in the team roping.
Crawford has also competed at the mens professional rodeo level.
She also has won state titles in high school and a national championship in college.
“Jarrard and Jackie have been the biggest influences on me during my career. Jarrard is a very good roper and a great motivational speaker,” explained Kent. “I go to his house three times a week.
“Jarrard is really good at teaching me what I need to work on the most.” she said.
“Jackie is my idol and arguably one of the best women’s ropers ever. She taught me how to rope and I look up to her as a woman. She is definitely good at what she does and a great teacher,” Kent added.
Kent was a state qualifier her sophomore and junior years in breakaway, goat tying and barrel racing.
She has made it to nationals eight times for goat tying and won goat tying in the 16-19 age bracket at the American Juniors Rodeo Association (AJRA).
Kent hopes to add more accolades to her list and gold in the trophy case when she joins the South Plains College rodeo team in the fall.
“By far, South Plains College has the best women’s rodeo team in the state of Texas. The coaches are great and I like the smaller classes. SPC is also close to home, which is a good thing,” said Kent.
“I am a big family person,” she continued. “Those guys support me and help me a lot with what I do. They are a big part of my success, so I won’t need to drive five hours to see them,”
“I also like being close to Lubbock. Being around my family was a huge deciding factor, but I mainly chose SPC because of their great rodeo team,” she continued.
With 12 years of experience under her belt, Kent said the best memory of her career came last year when she conquered a slump in goat tying.
“I have had two knee surgeries, so I was in a goat tying slump. I worked very hard for multiple years after my surgeries,” stated Kent.
“Last year, at the AJRA finals, I started believing in myself again and trusted everything I had been taught, which led to me winning in the finals, so that is the best memory of my career.”
Kent is the daughter of Keith and Keely Kent. Her grandparents are Kay and Randy Wood. Her younger sister, Emma, also competes in rodeos.
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