Skyline junior high student rockets to the top of junior rodeo standings in Kansas

Hannah Brown
Pratt Tribune
Skyline Schools junior-high student Ava Chadd ropes a calf in competition, where she is leading the state standings in five rodeo events.

Ava Chadd, a student at Skyline Schools in Pratt, started rodeoing when she was just seven years old, competing in jr. rodeos. Now, at 13, Chadd is first in her division in Kansas in the Junior High Rodeo Association. She currently competes in five events: barrels, poles, goat tying, breakaway roping and ribbon roping. She hopes to learn to team rope someday, but that will have to wait until she isn't so busy with school. 

"Kansas jr high rodeo has four rodeos in the fall and four rodeos in the spring. We go to Emporia, Garden City, Canton and Manhattan in the fall and Dodge City, Lakin, Guthrie in the spring and the finals  at The Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane," said Chadd. "This season in Junior High Rodeo I have won the all-around Cowgirl at two rodeos, Canton and Lakin. I am currently sitting 1st going into the finals which is May 26-29."

Last year, Chadd qualified for Nationals in poles and goat tying but the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To reach nationals, a competitor must finish in the top four in an event. Chadd's goal this year is to win all-around cowgirl to compete at nationals. 

Chadd has worked with different trainers throughout her competitions. 

"I have used trainers to help me with my horsemanship skills. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I am currently riding barrels with Suzette Van Doren & I have been practicing breakaway roping with Weston Winfrey."

These coaches are very helpful, according to Chadd. She takes videos of her events and sends them to her coaches and they help her correct something if need be.

As with any sport or competition, Ava has learned a lot. When asked what the biggest thing she has learned from competition, Chadd said hard work. 

"Dedication and hard work go hand in hand with rodeo. Whether you are taking care of animals or practicing every day, my goals and dreams can’t be accomplished without working hard. You have to put in the hard work!" said Chadd. 

Chadd got her start on the family-run farm and ranch. They have cow/calf pairs and use their horses to do ranch work, which is where Ava got her start riding horses. She also showed horses through 4-H before starting to compete in rodeos. 

Ava is currently a 7th grader at Skyline Schools, where she will wrap up the school year on Wednesday, May 19.