2021 WPRA Resistol Rookie of the Year Kylee Scribner reflects on her adventures on the road.
After traveling to 85 rodeos in 2021—mainly by herself—Kylee Scribner has learned a lot her first year as a pro rodeo competitor. But the 21-year-old from Azle, Texas, set her goals, and with solid horses underneath her, amassed $47,312 to become the 2021 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Resistol Rookie of the Year.
Setting Her Sights
Riding since she was a toddler, Scribner’s “whole maternal side” of her family rides horses, including her mother, Kristy Scribner, and her aunt Tammy Miller, who rodeoed professionally. When it comes to rodeo aspirations, Kylee Scribner says it’s always been her goal to compete at the National Finals Rodeo.
“I think it’s a dream we all had as little girls—we all dream of running down the Thomas & Mack alleyway, we all dream of rodeoing, and I feel like this is what I was called to do this year,” Scribner said. “So we stepped out in faith and took that step.”
So why this year? Scribner recalls when she had a horse named First Fire Frost, but she didn’t rodeo on him, a decision she regretted after he contracted Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM).
“Looking back, I wish I would have rodeoed when I had him,” Scribner said. “I promised myself that if I had another horse at that caliber, I would go. I wouldn’t wait.”
Firewater Cartel, nicknamed “BB,” is First Fire Frost’s half-brother. Scribner purchased the 2015 bay gelding by Firewater Frost and out of DNA Awesome Chrystal by SC Chiseled In Stone in the fall of 2019 from his breeder and trainer Holly Pritchard.
Scribner says although BB is talented, getting with him was a challenge.
“BB was definitely a problem child,” Scribner said. “That’s part of the reason I ended up with him. He’s definitely a one-person horse. He didn’t want anybody else riding him. But he’s got a lot of try, and really wants to run fast.”
In 2020 during his futurity year, BB showed promise. That was the sign for Scribner to step up to her first year of pro rodeo.
“For this year, my goal was to win Rookie and get high enough in the standings that I’d be invited to the bigger rodeos, such as Fort Worth and Houston for the following year,” Scribner said.
On the Road
Scribner rode BB for the majority of those 85 rodeos. She also competed on Im Downright Dashing (“Ricky”) and A Hero Spotted (“Duke”).
Seasoning BB on the road was an education, says Scribner.
“This summer we had a learning curve,” Scribner said. “He had never been in outdoor pens, and this summer we were in some really big outdoor pens. That was definitely a challenge for us, as well as trying to figure out different bits, different setups and trying to season him out. He’d never even been rodeoed on before we started this year.”
Scribner threw BB to the wolves, but he handled it well.
“He’s really good-minded, I’m just really thankful to have him,” Scribner said.
Having never traveled this extensively before, much less by herself, Scribner found pounding the road an adventure with lots of ups and downs. Her outgoing and determined personality helped, but it was still a challenge.
“I enjoy people and I’m a people person most of the time, but I like to do my own thing when I get to a rodeo and take care of my horses the way I want to—not rush to somebody else’s schedule,” Scribner said. “The biggest challenge was I had terrible luck with tires for whatever reason this year. I had brand new tires on my truck and trailer, but it was like every trip I was blowing a tire. It was a mess trying to figure that out.”
Scribner also learned how to deal with a water pump, hot water heater and generator issues in her living quarters trailer.
“I think probably the biggest things were trying to figure out how to keep everything working correctly,” Scribner said.
Advice Scribner took to heart helped her stay the course, she says.
“The biggest advice I got was to keep going,” Scribner said. “Because you’re out there on the road, you’re by yourself, most of the time you’re away from your family. You have people pass away, birthdays, you miss so much being out there on the road like that. There are times where you literally just want to put the GPS on ‘home’ and just drive home. One of the biggest things is just having the mentality to stay out there, because you’re going to have the highest of highs and lowest of lows, but you’ve got to ride them all through.”
Thinking about rodeo triumphs, the Woodward Elks Rodeo in June in Woodward, Oklahoma, was Scribner’s first pro rodeo win and one of her favorite highlights of the year. Her first time to make the short go was in June at Reno, Nevada. Scribner also appreciated getting to compete at the ProRodeo Tour Finale in Salinas, California, in September.
Beyond the rodeo pen, Scribner says visiting Lake Tahoe was a real treat. But just getting to see so much of the country meant a lot to her.
“Seeing Lake Tahoe was awesome—it’s absolutely beautiful,” Scribner said. “We did a lot of things. We went and saw the ocean and ate at a lot of different restaurants. It was just an experience being able to get out there in general.”
Scribner is thankful for her supporters as well as her sponsors: Master Saddles, XLR8, Driven PCR, REO Ranching Equine Operations Insurance Agency, Hay-Rite, Weston Ryder, 3S Custom Equine, Outlaw Equine Hospital and Rehab Center, OE Nutraceuticals, JD Bits, Delicious Horse Treats, B-Free of Flies and RenoVo.
With invitations secured for some bigger rodeos, Scribner hopes to scale back the sheer miles she’s running while still chasing her goals. She’ll also be seasoning her other horses at local rodeos, then ease out to the winter rodeos.
“I don’t want to go to 90 rodeos again, so hopefully we’ll go to these bigger rodeos, see how we’re sitting and make a game plan from there,” Scribner said. “Ideally, everybody has the goal in mind at the start of the year to go to the NFR, but for right now, we’re just looking at getting into the bigger rodeos and keeping my horses sound and happy.”