Prep Rodeo: Being good is not enough for Allen
Heber City • It wasn't enough for Ashley Allen.
By her own account, the 2012 high-school rodeo season was the best in a short career for the versatile sophomore out of Westlake High.
The peak? Finishing fifth in goat tying during last week's Utah High School Rodeo Association competition, along with placing 12th in barrel racing.
The issue? Finishing fifth in goat tying and placing 12th in barrel racing didn't yield the ultimate prize for Allen qualifying for nationals. So Allen, who proved to be one of the more successful competitors in Heber City last week, felt like she hadn't performed the way she wanted.
"I put my best run together, and I thought that I did well, but obviously things didn't go as planned," Allen said.
"I just need to work on my consistency. I have to be better in tight situations. This is going to be a huge motivation for me in terms of next season."
In some ways, maybe Allen is asking a little too much of herself. As a rookie last season, she burst onto the high-school rodeo radar, establishing herself as a force when she made the state finals and qualified for the Silver State Invitational.
Allen's ability to make an impact in a number of events allowed her to be noticed as well, with breakaway roping and pole bending becoming specialties along with the barrel racing and the goat tying.
Her season was better than her freshman year. But Allen is nothing if not a competitor and a perfectionist. She ropes at least three times a week. She ties a goat every single day, showing off a work ethic that is largely unmatched on the high-school rodeo circuit.
"I know people who work as hard as Ashley, but I haven't seen many people work harder," said Rusty Allen, Ashley's father, and himself a standout in rodeo.
"She's grown up around it and she's loved it ever since she was very young. I've told her often that she's only going to get out what she puts into it. So she's really dedicated herself, and it's working out for her."
That's why not getting to the national tournament eats at her. Allen has experienced success, but wants the ultimate success. She wants a state title. She wants to perform on the brightest stage. Her top-five performance would be great to some. To her, it was unacceptable.
"This will make me work harder in the summer, and I will be ready to go for the fall," Allen said. "This experience this week was really rewarding. It was great to do as well, but it also shows me what I have to do in order to get better. I want to be able to take the next step."
Hanging tough at rodeo
Ashley Allen qualified for state finals as a freshman.
She is a sophomore at Westlake High School.
She also plays basketball at Westlake.
She is a third-generation rodeo competitor.