Desanti Family – Rodeo is in the Blood |

Desanti Family – Rodeo is in the Blood

Kristen Lodge/Outdoor Adventures
Grand County, CO Colorado

Kayla Desanti, 12, is this year’s Hi Country Stampede Rodeo Princess. As this year (and last year’s) princess, one of her responsibilities is to represent the rodeo all year. Another aspect of the job: every Saturday night starting July 2, she rides the perimeter of the arena at the start of the main rodeo and waves to the audience.

“It does take time to get ready. We get glittery and fancy,” she said.

She tried out for the role last year. The most important interview question: How will you represent the rodeo. She says that her answer was, “You smile, be happy, be kind and talk to kids about the rodeo.”

Kayla competes in the barrel race and pole bending events in addition to the goat tie. When I ask her if she wanted to be a pro someday, she replies with a definitive, “Yes.”

Kayla likes to be on her horse and likes to ride fast.

“It’s fun to run.”

Over the winter she travelled to the Front Range to barrel race as training for this summer rodeo season.

Her horse is kept on the property where she lives with her family in Kremmling.

“I’ve always wanted to ride horses and I get to ride my horse most days. Some days I just work my horse.”

She is also involved with 4H (Lambs, horses and dogs). She says, “I like to inspire kids to follow their dreams. I get to rides horses; it’s my dream.”

Her mom, Michele was a barrel racer in high school and her dad, Jack was a Bareback bronc rider. It must be in their blood to rodeo because Kayla’s younger sister, Emma wants to be just like her big sister and be in the rodeo.

Emma Desanti is 9 years old and has been watching rodeo most of her life. Her favorite thing to do during the rodeo is ride her horse around the warm up area to exercise it while watching her big sister compete. Her favorite events in the rodeo: barrel racing and bull riding.

It’s been a tough year for Emma, “I’ve fallen off my horse a lot so I get nervous.”

Then her horse died: “I’m using my sister’s horse, Vixen.” Emma hopes to enter a rodeo by the end of the summer. “If I get confident enough, I hope to someday be a princess.”

Michele says it’s a great step for Emma to have the goal to do a rodeo by the end of summer. “Once she fell off the horse she didn’t want to get back on again for a long time. But now she is getting more confident and can ride through the area to practice. She’ll be back.”

Hi Country Stampede Rodeo begins its season on Saturday July 2 and runs through August 13. Family Run nights are July 16 and July 30. These special nights will have a special kids events including a fire truck and face painting.

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West Grand seniors Rene Dominguez, right, and Angel Dominguez pass the baton during one of the nighttime relays at the 2021 Joe Shields Invitational at WGHS.

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