By GLENDA ANDERSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Figuring out where Ukiah teen Reiney Hatch is on any given weekend is a cinch.
If she’s not in a pickup hauling a horse trailer, she’s in the saddle in some rodeo ring.
Last month, it was Wyoming. A couple of weeks ago, it was Amador County. On holiday weekends, the 17-year-old sometimes competes in two rodeos hundreds of miles apart.
“I’m gone about every weekend, who knows where,” she said.
Weekdays are for practice.
Reiney is always on the go, and that’s fine with her.
“I hate” sitting still, she said.
Reiney graduated this year from the Redwood Academy, a Ukiah charter school, and plans to attend college close to home and her horses, beginning with Mendocino Community College.
But her ultimate goal is moving to Texas and making a living on the rodeo circuit.
“If I don’t do rodeo, I don’t know what I’d probably do,” she said.
Reiney is off to a good start.
She is the 2010 California High School Rodeo Association barrel racing champion and placed 29th out of 184 girls at the National High School Rodeo finals in Wyoming.
She was not happy with her performance in Wyoming, but it rained the day she competed and the mud was 8 inches deep.
“It was really sticky,” she said.
Reiney is undeterred by the minor setback. She has been competing in rodeo events since she was 11 and has plenty of trophies and other loot to prove her skill.
She won two saddles this year, and her tack rooms at home and in her horse trailer are filled with fancy pads and innumerable bridles.
Altogether she has six horses, each with a different set of skills for the rodeo events in which she competes, including barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping and goat tying.
Reiney was first smitten with horses when she was 2 and discovered a neighbor’s horse, said her mother, Judy Hatch, who with her husband owns a vineyard just south of Ukiah.
“The minute she started talking, we had to go out and feed the horse,” she said.
“Horsey, horsey, go feed horsey,” Reiney would say.
When she was 10, her parents caved in and bought her a pony. Now their lives are pretty much devoted to supporting their daughter’s cowgirl dreams.
“All we do is put money into horses and vehicles,” said Judy Hatch, who often accompanies her daughter on road trips.
Reiney at one time also had an interest in roller skating competitively, but when she was 9, the instructor told her she had to choose between skating and horses. The choice was easy.
She never has looked back, despite a tumble or two, one of which left her with a broken collar bone.
“The only time I cried was when they told me I couldn’t ride for six weeks,” Reiney said. She was 11.
Sometimes she feels a twinge of fear at the beginning of a barrel racing event, but she gets over it as soon as she and her horse rocket past the first barrel. Then the fun and excitement kick in.
“It’s an adrenaline rush,” Reiney said.
You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or glenda.anderson@ pressdemocrat.com.
High School: Redwood Academy, 2010 graduate
Lives with: parents Bruce and Judy Hatch
Favorite music: Pop
Job: Aspires to be a professional rodeo competitor
Working pets: six horses: Sizzle, Bitty, Oscar, Hawk, Tudy and Passport.