Howard eyes national rodeo
After qualifying three times for the National High School Rodeo Finals, Sydney Howard was ready to take the next step.
An hour’s drive north of Reno is where Howard would find her home away from home and after one semester rodeing at Feather River College, she’s finding the same success she did in Fallon. And it was Feather River’s success that drew Howard to Quincy, Calif.
“Although I did have offers from other schools, I chose Feather River for several reasons,” Howard said. “They have a winning rodeo program. They have a nursing program that fits my needs. My sisters both accepted rodeo scholarships very far from home, and I wanted to be closer to home. I loved the atmosphere at Feather River. The town of Quincy, the school and rodeo were all a great fit for me.”
During the fall season at Feather River, Howard won her first buckle and currently sits in second in the West Coast Region in goat tying as the spring season begins this weekend at West Hills College and Fresno State. Howard is ranked 20th nationally in goat tying and is also sixth in the conference in breakaway roping.
The transition from competing in high school to college couldn’t have gone any smoother for Howard.
“I absolutely felt prepared when I competed at the fall rodeos,” said Howard, who finished with a 3.5 grade-point average during the fall and is studying to become a nurse and work in a pediatric intensive care unit . “I have had a lifetime of practice, as well as continuous great coaching. My teammates helped me to ‘up my game’ by pushing me to be the best that I can be.”
It didn’t hurt to have a strong family background in rodeo, either.
Howard’s parents — David and Machele — both attended Lassen College and competed in the same conference as her daughter, winning regional titles and qualifying for nationals. Her sisters, Morgan and Kenady, attended colleges in New Mexico. Morgan attended New Mexico Highlands University while Kenady went to Mesalands Community College before transferring to the University of Montana-Western.
The support has been strong for Howard in her first year at Feather River.
“My family has been my support system my entire life but when I came to college, the support started to mean more,” she said. “My parents were able to come and watch all of the fall rodeos, and my grandparents even came to one. My sisters live too far away to be there physically; however, they are both extremely supportive as well. Without the support of my family, I would not be where I am today. They push me to do my best, lift me up when I am down, and taught me to always be humble when you end up on top. They have made me the competitor I am.”
With the spring season beginning this weekend, Howard’s eyeing a berth in the College National Finals Rodeo in June.
After recording personal bests in goat tying with a 6.6 and making the short-go at all four fall rodeos, Howard’s optimistic about advancing to college rodeo’s biggest stage.
“I hope to qualify every year that I compete,” Howard said. “Another goal of mine is to win the region. Both of my parents rodeoed in the West Coast Region, won regional titles and qualified for the CNFR. I hope to do the same.”