Hard work in the classroom and in the rodeo arena opened a doorway to Texas for Tayler Felton.
The Oasis Academy co-valedictorian who graduated in May signed to continue her education and compete in rodeo at Tarleton University, a nationally recognized Division I program.
“Truthfully, I have always wanted to go to Texas,” said Felton, who applied to the universities in Arizona, Nevada and several others before making her decision. “For an aspiring rodeo athlete, Texas is a great place to sharpen your skills. I want to be the best breakaway roper I possibly can be and I feel that Texas is the place I can accomplish that goal.”
During her time at Oasis Academy, Felton became a three-time state champion in breakaway roping and won the state title this year in girls cutter. She also won the title in team roping three years ago to go along with earning her associate’s degree from Western Nevada College this year. Felton was active in student council, honor society and leadership at Oasis Academy.
“My most important goal for my high school career was to compete at the best of my ability in rodeo and have fun doing it. It is safe to say that I feel that I accomplished that goal,” said Felton, who drew inspiration from following Michael Jordan’s legacy. “Although some things might not have gone my way at certain points in my high school career, and I missed the mark on accomplishing some goals, I feel that I gained important lessons from those low points. As a whole, I have no regrets in how I spent my high school career.”
Going into her final year, Felton knew what was ahead of her: final experiences like prom, riding her horse, Reba, and competing in pole bending.
“I was looking forward to my senior year for the experiences I knew I would gain. I knew it was my last hooray as a high school rodeo athlete and there were events with my horses and rodeos that I would never get to compete in and at again,” she said. “Knowing it was my final year, I feel that it caused me to realize that I just needed to enjoy competing rather than being so serious about it.”
Felton will move across multiple time zones for the next chapter of her life when she competes in Texas. She credits many for helping her achieve her goals, including Lisa Swan, Chad Masters and Deni Byrd.
“Those three, along with many others, have inspired me to be a better person in and out of the arena,” Felton added. “And if there is one thing my senior year has taught me, it is that trying to be the best person you can be, has to happen within competition and outside of it.”
Along with her supporting case in and out of the arena, Felton is appreciative of her family’s support.
“My family has been heavily involved in supporting my rodeo career and my decision to take it to the next level,” Felton said. “They have supported me through the highs and the lows and I am grateful to have a family that wants me to achieve my dreams as badly as I do. I am nothing without them, and I am beyond grateful to have them in my life.”