Landry Haugen, National High School Finals Rodeo qualifier, grew up on the back of a horse. She began competing in rodeos when she was just 6 years old, and now represents South Dakota in national competitions around the country.
“I was on a horse, obviously, since I was a baby, but I started like actually riding when I was three or four,” said Haugen.
But she didn’t just begin rodeoing on a whim— Haugen is continuing her family’s legacy. Both her parents and her grandparents have been involved in professional rodeo all her life, and Haugen considers rodeo part of her identity.
“My parents were both in professional rodeo,” said Haugen. “Both my grandparents rodeoed. Butch Webb is my grandfather, he had a huge horse ranch in Isabel, South Dakota. My grandma, Rene, had some amazing horses and my mom done everything. She held the record of the college finals and the goat tying. It’s a part of who I am.”
Haugen has already won five state rodeo titles, and she claimed her first world title when she was just 14 years old. She won the 2019 World Goat Tying Championship.
According to Haugen, her horses have always been a big part of her success.
“I’m exhausted after rodeo for sure, because like my barrel horses, you know, even more than a breakaway horse, you’re icing them and taking care of them, and they they eat better than I do,” said Haugen. “And, yeah, they’re spoiled, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Haugen is currently preparing to compete at the National High School Finals Rodeo for the third year in a row. She will represent South Dakota in the barrel racing, girls’ cutting and the range cow horse events. Haugen loves the spirit of rodeo and the friendly competition, but her heart is with the animals.
“Like I mentioned before, the animals have a huge part in it. I care about my animals more than anything,” said Haugen.
As Haugen focuses on winning a national title, she hopes to follow in her parents’ footsteps after high school and continue her rodeo career at a professional level.
“It, more than any other sport, gives you the unique opportunity to do it after high school at a competitive level,” said Haugen. “And that’s not to say that I won’t go and, you know, get a master’s or bachelor’s or PhD or something and then come back to it, but it will completely be a part of my life.”