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3R champion will ride in Lions Team Roping

by John Elliott


  Ever since she can remember Shyan Souza has been dreaming about the Three Rivers Lions Team Roping. In fact, she first ran the barrels as a four-year-old and now looks forward to the local competition as the best event on the circuit and her highlight of an annual schedule that becomes more hectic each year.

  Shyan, now a senior at Woodlake High School , says it's indescribable the feeling she gets when she's out in the Lions Arena. All the cheers of her family, friends, and fans screaming her name echoing up and down the North Fork , and according to this tough-as-nails competitor, it just doesn't get any better.

  But wherever she finishes on the leader board this weekend after roping on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, it's going to be difficult to beat what she's already accomplished in 2010.

  That's because at the Challenge of Champions, the 2010 California High School Rodeo district championships held March 19 through 21 at Plymouth, Calif., Shyan and her partner, Lane Lowry of Bakersfield, finished first in team roping. For their efforts, they came away with the championship buckles and a $500 scholarship to attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo .

  It's no small feat to be the best of California 's nine districts with several hundred competitors in arguably the premier competition of the rodeo's nine events. Shyan said she chose team roping from the other events — goat tying, pole bending, barrel racing, breakaway roping (girls only), bronc riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, and steer roping — because team roping is something she plans on doing the rest of her life.

  Shyan and her mom Tammy said the scholarship will come in handy because college is going to be a financial challenge, especially when she will be trying out for the Cal Poly Mustangs' championship rodeo team. That means when most students are taking their cars to college, Shyan will be taking her championship American quarter horses Brother Bear and Kahlua.

  “Those horses are treated like royalty,” Shyan admitted. “They get the attention first, then I might think about what I need to do for me.”

For Shyan, her roping career started in her middle school years. As a youngster she always ran the barrels but then it came time to make a decision.

  “That's when I chose rodeo over playing the other sports,” Shyan recalled. “I tried all the events I could but eventually decided to concentrate on roping.”

  That means like with all sports: practice, practice, and then practice some more and a commitment by her parents to take her and her horses all over the West to compete in an endless series of rodeos. Shyan can be often seen riding in her home arena along Sierra Drive , that is, when she's not off somewhere competing.

  “Whenever possible, I try to practice in the bigger arenas on the Schrock Ranch or at my friend's place in Ivanhoe,” Shyan said. “Some of the best high school competitors and the other ropers live on big working ranches so they have an advantage.”

  Every roper knows the difference between rodeo and a roping like this weekend's event at Three Rivers. At a team roping, there are no events like the bronc or bull riding or steer wrestling but there are the more traditional ranch events like team roping, branding, and barrel racing. Shyan says lots of ropers like her dad, J.P. Souza, only rope one event a year and it's at Three Rivers.


THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
41841 Sierra Drive (Highway 198), Three Rivers, CA 93271
MAIL: P.O. Box 806, Three Rivers, CA 93271
(559) 561-3627 FAX: (559) 561-0118
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