Science teacher Sloan shares a cowgirl dream

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Gibson County science teacher Holland Sloan is competing for Rookie of the Year at the IFR in Oklahoma this week.


Holland Sloan of Rutherford wants to be Rookie of the Year.

It’s a lofty goal, one the cowgirl set at the beginning of the International Pro Rodeo breakaway season in 2016.

Sloan finished the season ranked ninth with total earnings of $6,411. She has qualified for the IFR 47 (International Finals Rodeo) in Oklahoma City this week.

Sloan will be competing for cowgirl breakaway champion and Rookie of the Year in the IFR.

In the IFR cowgirl breakaway format there are four separate go-rounds, and the fastest time of each go-round is the winner. They will average all four go-rounds for the fastest time to name the 2016 cowgirl breakaway champion.

The rodeo ends with a World Championship awards banquet at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Oklahoma City. Because Sloan finished in the top 15 she will receive her IFR jacket at the awards banquet.

Sloan won seven rodeos this past season and split for first with her friend, Megan Rinehart, at the 23rd   Annual Rineyville Optimist Club Rodeo in Elizabethtown, KY.

Breakaway roping is the female version of rope and tie. The event differs in that the cowgirl does not have to dismount, throw down the calf and tie it’s legs.  Instead, the cowgirl throws the rope, catching the calf around the neck and then the rope breaks away from its tie to the saddle horn with string.

The event begins with the cowgirl in a starting box secured behind a rope barrier.  The cowgirl gives a signal that she is ready and the calf is released from the chute.  The calf receives a head start that is determined by the length of the arena. When the calf reaches its advantage point, the barrier is released and the cowgirl races out after the calf.

The horse is trained to follow the calf wherever it runs in the arena.  The cowgirl pursues the calf and tries to lasso it around the neck.  When the calf is roped, the horse pulls up and calf keeps running until the rope is taut.  The rope then breaks from the saddle horn and the time is taken.

Breakaway ropers attach the brightly colored piece of cloth to the end of their rope, so that the judge can easily see when the rope has broken away from the saddle horn and to clearly indicate their success. Breakaway roping is a timed event with the fastest time winning.  Time starts from the when the barrier is released and the cowgirl races out and ends when the rope breaks away from the cowgirl’s saddle.

Sloan has been riding most of her life. She started out barrel racing and the poles. For the past nine years she has completed in the cowgirl breakaway. Sloan has ridden her horse Blue for the past three years. Blue is really quick to the line to score r well.

Sloan says she feels like rodeo is one big family. There are always good and bad times but someone is always going to be there for you in the bad times, she says.

Her traveling partner is Megan Rinehart and her husband of Guys TN. Rinehart is ranked first in the cowgirl breakaway. “This being my first year she has been a big help to me in so many different ways. She really helps me with my confidence and keeps me motivated. I learn a lot just by watching her ride.”

Sloan also gives credits to Clay Brewer. “Without Clay, this achievement would not had been possiblw. He turnouts the cattle, tunes up the horn and helps me fix my bad habits.”

“My favorite rodeo of this year was Caruthersville, MO.  I did not do very well this year but I won that rodeo the year before.  It is really close to home and the rodeo committee always does a lot for the contestants.  It’s always good weather and gets a lot of entries and just a good rodeo to go to,” Sloan said.

Sloan added, “I am really excited about being able to compete at the IFR.  This was a huge goal for me and I put in a lot of work to achieve it.  I have been practicing constantly and working really hard to achieve my goal as Rookie of the Year.  Now just to go do the best that I can.”

Sloan is from Chester, South Carolina where she graduated from Chester High School. She graduated from Southern Arkansas University with a degree in biology. She is first year science teacher at Gibson County High School and resides in Rutherford.

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1 Comment

  1. Shelia Reddick on January 11, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Go Holland!! Go for the cowgirl “gold”!!

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