Skylar Connelly and Smash, left, and Taylissa Lytle, right were among the local competitors at the Tuffest Junior World Championship in Tulsa, Okla., earlier this month. Both girls earned a paycheck and Skylar won this new Dodge Ram Truck!

Skylar Connelly had a memorable trip to the Tuffest Junior World Championship in Tulsa, Okla., recently. She competed in the barrel racing event and came home with more than a belt buckle! 

Can you share a little about your journey to the Junior World competition?

“I have been competing since I was in seventh grade, but took a two-year break due to two ACL surgeries. This year I decided to get back into it again and bought my horse at the end of June. Her registered name is Smashed Marie, but I call her Smash. I went to a qualifier for the Junior Worlds at the end of August and took second which qualified me for nationals.” 

Tell us a little about the weekend’s competition, where you placed and how the prizes were awarded. 

“I went down just hoping for clean runs. For Junior Worlds I ended up having some issues with the ground and resulted in a no time for my first round. Then in the second round I placed in the middle of the pack. There was another jackpot ‘Race for the Ram’ that I entered over the weekend. The first round I tipped two barrels. But in the second round I tripped and almost went down on the first barrel.”

Skylar continued, “They took the winner of each D (Division) for each round and the average winners. We all picked a box that contained a chip 1-11 and one chip with Ram 3500 written on it. Then one by one they picked a girl to open their box. I was in the last two to open theirs and I won the 2020 Ram dually 3500!”

What were you most happy about? Your performance or the new rig?

“Obviously, I am EXTREMELY happy about my new rig. But, my goal was to go down and make a clean run and that’s exactly what I did. I couldn’t be more proud of Smash and me.”

Where do you go from here? 

“When I get home, I plan on giving Smash a well-deserved break until spring rodeo that starts in March. I will be competing in high school wrestling starting in January.” 

What do you see yourself doing in five years? 

“In five years, I plan on still being in college to become a Physical Therapist and, hopefully, competing in wrestling and/or rodeo.”

Physical Therapy? Have your ACL surgeries had anything to do with that?

“Yes, yes it has!”

Congratulations, Skylar! Enjoy your new truck and best of luck on your wrestling, rodeo and Physical Therapy careers!

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