Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 16
HAYLEY HAMERAthlete of the Week
BY Rebecca Patterson
Seventeen-year-old Hayley Hamer from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School is one of nine local teenagers from the California High School Rodeo Association who have qualified for the 65th National High School Finals Rodeo. They have until July 14 to perfect their events before representing the association’s District 7 at the Sweetwater County Events Complex in Rock Springs, Wyo.
Many people shrink under the pressure of competition, but Hamer seems to do the exact opposite. She’ll be competing in the most events in District 7: breakaway roping, pole bending, and girls’ cutting. When asked about her favorite events, she said with a giggle, “All the events I qualified for are my favorite events.”
Her confidence and light-hearted demeanor shine through her conversation. The pressure of competing at such a high level against the best competitors in the United States, Australia, and Canada is making her both excited and happy. Hamer’s preparation for Nationals is a conglomerate of physical, repetitive, and mental practice.
She works out her competition horses daily. This builds the horses’ physical strength and confidence in her: “It is important to trust my horses because they have to trust me. If I am calm, then so are they,” she said.
Her care for her horses was evident when she sadly shared the news of her recently passed horse, Gomez, who went to both Nationals and State Finals. The bond between a rider and horse is very important. A trustworthy relationship has a natural, positive effect on competitions.
Growing up in a family of competitors predisposed her to the rodeo life.
“I was never [formally] introduced to rodeo, but was just born into it,” Hamer said.
She shared that her mom and she practice a technique that improves her breakaway. She imagines herself in competition while her mom creates the rodeo atmosphere and even calls out competitor’s names. This is a common exercise among top competitors. It eases nerves and helps the athlete feel familiar in the arena so they can do their best.
As Nationals draws near, Hamer plans to continue her training. She finds encouragement in the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, and believes that positive thinking has a positive result on one’s life. Hamer also says a prayer before each event.
Her calm thoughts on the upcoming competition are reflected through her words: “I just feel that whatever is supposed to happen will happen.” Her selfless outlook also shines when she’s asked about her hopes for the competition. She concluded with, “I just hope that everybody does their possible best.”