Teen Teaches Others Fine Art Of Rodeo

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Showing near perfect form, Kelsey Lutjen demonstrates good technique when training a horse to turn at each barrel.

Lani Hall wanted her 8-year-old daughter Bryndee to attend last Friday's rodeo clinic at the Payson Event Center to improve her riding skills and learn to ride more safely.

Bryndee said she liked the clinic because it gave her a chance to ride fast without her mother worrying as much as she does when Bryndee goes out on her own.

Hall said her daughter has been riding since she was 3-years-old and although she is a good rider, she wanted her to attend the clinic to learn more about riding safety and improve her overall skills with her 11-year-old quarter horse mare Pepe.

Young riders from Payson and surrounding communities galloped, trotted and cantered around the Event Center last Friday, March 14, as they learned how to ride better and more safely at a 4-H rodeo clinic.

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Practicing goat tying during the 4-H rodeo clinic, several young ladies, above, find it's not as easy at it looks. Jordan Hunt, holds her hands across her knees while her partner Brylee Hall tries the tie. In front of them, Abby Greenleaf, left, and Hannah Tommerlin practice diligently.

Run by 14-year-old Kelsey Lutjen, about five riders participating in the clinic Friday morning at the Payson Event Center.

Lutjen has won numerous titles in Arizona since she began competing in rodeos in 2001 and was a qualifier to the National Junior High School Finals Rodeo. Between 2001 and 2007, she won 11 saddles and 350 buckles so far in her young career.

"The clinic is mostly for members to learn better techniques and skills for barrel racing, pole bending and goat tying," said Anne Kilbourne with 4-H.

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Listening closely to Kelsey Lutjen's every word about barrel racing are; Jordan Hunt, left, Tiena Wisdom, center and Chloe Oestman.

She said the clinic also offered participants tips for taking care of horses as well as life skills, self-confidence and peer interaction.

Hall said this was the first clinic of its kind offered by 4-H and that planning for the event began in January and was designed for all ages and riding levels.

Hall, with the University of Arizona, said that part of the rodeo clinic's goal is to provide young people interested in horse shows and rodeos with better riding skills so they will have a better chance of entering and winning.

The clinic cost $50 per participant, but Hall said it is well worth the price for greater peace of mind.

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Kelsey Lutjen, a continuous winner of rodeo awards since 2001, conducted a rodeo clinic at the Payson Event Center. Friday, March 14.

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