For Nichole and Sydney Laverde, rodeo is not simply a summer sport. It is a lifestyle for their entire family, and one of the reasons that the Laverdes are so tightly knit. The family, having recently moved from Marietta to Talking Rock, Ga. began the NLBRA sanctioned Georgia Little Britches Rodeo Association (GLBRA) in 2013. This led to two of their daughters competing in the association as well.
Nichole, 17, is starting her first year of competing in the NLBRA. She first began rodeoing four years ago in other associations. Following a few weeks spent with horses at yearly Girl Scout campouts, Nichole decided that she wanted to take horseback riding to another level. She and her dad, Jaime Laverde, decided to have Nichole take riding lessons, and from there, rodeo was all she wanted to do. Today, Nichole competes in goat tying, pole bending, barrel racing, and trail course. She would also like to start team roping. Her two horses, both very solid in rodeo, are Kira and Dakota. "Kira is my pole bending horse, and the way I feel when I'm on her makes me feel really in control and powerful." Nichole is also the youth director for GLBRA.
The Laverde family has fallen in love with their new hometown of Talking Rock, which is about 40 miles from Atlanta. Nichole has three younger sisters - Sydney, 7, Ally, 4, and Reagan, 1. Their family farm is made complete by several horses, ponies, chickens, goats, and dogs, with the possible addition of pigs and a cow this summer.
Nichole is a junior at Pickens High School, where her favorite subject is U.S. History. "My dad and I have always had a real connections with history, so it's my favorite," she explained. Nichole does competitive cheering year round outside of school, and in her free time, she enjoys playing guitar, singing, and composing music.
Nichole explained her goals for the coming year. "I want to get myself to Pueblo (Colo.) for (NLBRA) finals this year. I'd also like to do duel enrollment next school year and start college early, as well as keeping up with my family and cheering." Nichole is inspired in nearly everything she does by her step-mom, Jessica Laverde. Jessica has been the main person behind the creation of GLBRA. "She has done so much in her life and she has a beautiful family. I really look up to her," said Nichole.
Sydney, 7, competed in her first rodeo in November. Her events are goat tail untying and barrel racing, and the daring cowgirl also wants to ride bulls, which is her favorite event to watch. Sydney would love to win a belt buckle in the NLBRA this year. She competes in her events on her brown and white POA pony Snowflake. Horses are extra special to Sydney because they helped her to start talking through hippotherapy.
A student at Hill City Elementary, Sydney is in the first grade. Art is her favorite class, and she especially enjoys drawing and painting. Like her older sister, Sydney is a competitive cheerleader, but at the end of the day, she loves to snuggle up at home and be with her family.
The Laverde family has made rodeo a large part of their lives as they continue to run the GLBRA and help it grow. Nichole concluded with her thoughts on rodeo. "My little sisters really look up to me. I know if I were to stop rodeoing, they would too. It makes me want to strive to do better, practice, and do the best I can when I compete."
- Noble Outfitters recognizes youth accomplishments and supports programs like NLBRA.
Featured member Nichole will receive a Noble Outfitters Retro Roper's Bag and Sydney a Noble Outfitters Ringside Pack .
Learn more at nobleoutfiters.com