Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 17
Athlete of the Week: Emily Mangione
BY KRISTINA SEWELL
The day before Emily Mangione and her family left for the Silver State International Rodeo in Winnemucca, Nev., she didn’t sound nervous. In fact, she sounded confident and ready.
Mangione, going on her sophomore year at Nipomo High School, recently qualified for the International Rodeo in the pole bending category, finishing third in overall points.
She’s just one of several high school students competing from District 7, which includes Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties. Rodeo qualifiers will compete for prizes, college scholarships, and national titles.
Mangione is just starting her third year of rodeo, but is a veteran on horseback; she’s been riding since she was 2 years old.
“I’ve always rode horses,” she said. “I just wanted to do something different.”
With the need for a change in mind, Mangione tried her hand at pole bending, which involves her riding her horse alongside six poles, turning around, and weaving back through them.
“If you can finish in 21 seconds or less, you will place well,” she said, adding she had a stroke of luck when her family bought her horse, Cash.
“He is awesome at barrels and poles,” she said. “He places well.”
Mangione rides every day, but only puts Cash through his paces one day a week to avoid overworking him before competition.
According to Mangione, approximately 600 high school students will be competing at the rodeo: 10 people to represent each district and each event. Although she admitted that she is nervous, she said she isn’t putting too much pressure on herself. She said the biggest challenge of pole bending is to keep all the poles standing.
“I can’t think too fast or I will hit a pole,” she said. “I have to think smooth.”
Mangione, the lone representative from Nipomo High School at the weeklong competition, said she’d like to compete in rodeo in college and is exploring Texas Tech and UC Davis. She said she’d also be competing in barrel racing at the competition.
“Obviously I want to win it,” Mangione said. “But I just need to get into the right mindset, go out, and run my best. No pressure.”