Brannan wins first overall rodeo as senior

A champion is someone who works hard, all the time, makes a commitment to a job, whether they want to do it or not, and does their best in spite of the challenges.

Tia Brannan is the epitome of a champion.

Brannan has worked out no less than four nights a week since the end of the high school's rodeo season. She has made sure that her four horses have remained in tip-top condition, working them out on a rotating schedule.

And she has done it all begrudgingly.

In the end, it all played out for Brannan, who last Saturday was crowned the Senior Las Vegas Little Britches Rodeo All-Around Cowgirl.

She rode to the title after placing as the runner-up during three days of the rodeo, and finishing as All-Around champion on the fourth day.

The four days of placing in the top two spots and earning her first All-Around in the senior section of Little Britches makes Brannan look back on the two months of practice as gratifying.

"Jumping back into competition after two months off wasn't hard at all, it was staying motivated for the two months that was hard," she said. "It's one of those situations where I can look back and say, 'Practice really did pay off.'"

Brannan is entering her second year in the senior section of the Little Britches Rodeo, having made the jump from juniors last spring.

In her time as a senior, she has captured a few All-Arounds for day rodeos, but hasn't placed as an overall All-Around until her trip to Las Vegas.

As a junior, Brannan's dominance is evident, and all one has to do is see her 13 saddles that she has won for All-Around's 14 if you count the saddle she won for the 2000 World Champion All-Around Cowgirl.

Seniors is another world all together, as Brannan will attest.

"When you get into seniors the girls have a lot more experience," Brannan said. "It's good competition, but harder."

Rodeo would also be harder if it weren't for Brannan's family, who are her biggest cheerleaders and pit crew for the blossoming senior champion.

She said the success she's found in the sport would have never been possible without her family's support and help.

"Rodeo is a family-oriented sport, and would be nearly impossible without them," she said. "Family is so much more involved in rodeo than in any other sport. They help you travel, care for the horses and take care of the financial side of things."

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