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Riding Champ: Mason enjoys school, friends and competing in rodeos

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By Mallory Bilger

 MOUNT WASHINGTON — Alyson Mason is a true cowgirl.

She began riding horses at her family’s Mount Washington farm — Mason Performance Horses Inc. — when she was 18 months old. And by the time she entered kindergarten at Old Mill Elementary School, she was ready to compete in rodeos.

“The thing that I like most of the time is barrels,” she said, while sitting atop of her horse, Zippy.

Rodeoing is in her blood and she has won numerous trophies and awards for various regional and state competitions.

She currently is a member of the Kentucky Junior Rodeo Association circuit where she competes in the division I girls’ barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, mutton bustin’ and dummy roping. She is also a member of the American Junior Quarter Horse Association.

Mason’s father, John Mason, said that his daughter has a lot of talent and potential — not to mention that she loves the horses and enjoys the speed.

“She’s a speed racer. She likes the speed,” he said.

Mason, who turns eight this month, is currently training upon Zippy at least three days a week.

“She’s a great barrel racer,” she said of her horse.

Mason’s father said rodeo competitions have helped give his daughter confidence and goals for which to strive.

According to the KJRA’s Web site, junior rodeo helps prepare children for high school rodeo, promotes conduct and sportsmanship, keeps children interested in school, keeps western heritage alive, promotes relationships and promotes the humane treatment of animals.

Many of those traits were evident in Mason as she prepared Zippy for a practice run recently. She frequently spoke to Zippy, letting her know that she appreciated her horse’s effort.

The horse barn is a familiar place for Mason. Most days, she would rather be working with her horse than playing with dolls or having tea parties.

“Most of the time I want to come here and ride my horse,” she said.

She said she enjoys participating in the rodeos and meeting new friends as she and her family travel across the state to competitions.

Mason has already competed in one KJRA rodeo this fall and is busily preparing for another Oct. 18-19 in Marion, Ky. She will also compete in November in Greenville.

Mason usually competes in three rodeos in the fall and three in the spring.

For the most part, Mason loves the competitions. But she admitted that she gets a bit nervous when its her turn to compete.

“Most of the time the problem is that I might be scared at the gate,” she said.

But once the gate is open, Mason doesn’t look back.

“She’s not scared and she is really moving,” her father said. “She’s a pretty good jockey. She’s come a long way.”

As of the last KJRA event, Mason was ranked first in her division. Mason is striving this year to be named the Kentucky Junior Rodeo All-Around Cowgirl.

Mason is the daughter of John Mason and Heather Reynolds and is the step-daughter of Cindy Mason, all of Mount Washington.

For more information about the KJRA, visit www.kyjrrodeo.org.