Eight-year-old Haley Fauste is a rodeo enthusiast. She likes the horses, the events, but mostly, she likes winning.
In just her second year with the Kentucky Junior Rodeo Association (KJRA), Fauste has more trophy belt buckles than her horse has legs.
Through the September to May rodeo season, Fauste competed in 10 rodeos in the state, garnering annual points along the way.
She competes in goat-tying, barrel racing, pole bending, dummy roping and mutton busting.
Her favorite, she said, would have to be goat tying.
"It's my best event and so I like it the best," she said.
She said usually by the time the goat-tying event comes up, Haley is already tired from the day's event and her pony Coca-Cola is also tired. But, both put everything they have into it and generally walk away winners.
Because her recently completed season was her last in the youngest division of the association, Coca-Cola will no longer be big enough for her needs. She was sold and Haley will be astride Gator for the upcoming season.
Gator is nearly 14 hands tall and will be better suited to her needs, said Mike Tobin, Haley's step-father and one of her biggest fans.
Haley has already been bonding with her new partner. Gator is currently residing in Irvine, where her grandmother lives.
Haley's mother Lori Tobin and her grandmother also compete in riding events. Step-father Mike competes in roping events.
At the state-level competition, Haley modestly says she did okay.
"I messed up on the poles," she said reluctantly.
However, she was one competitor whose name kept popping up in the No. 1 or No. 2 spots.
According to Mike, Haley was consistently among the leaders in all of the events. However, others in the lead with her, were different girls in each event.
During the two-day state rodeo, Haley finished second in barrel racing the first day, but climbed to first on the second day. In pole bending, she was first on day one and had no time on day two. On the first day of goat tying, she finished third or fourth, but rounded out the second day with a first place.
Dummy roping and mutton busting are co-ed events.
She finished eighth overall in roping and ninth in mutton busting, which is her least favorite on the program.
"I just try to do my best," said the Westside Elementary student who will be entering the third grade in August. She lives on Wornall Lane.
"This is just her second year," Mike said proudly.
Haley will be graduating to competition division 1B, which is for third through fifth graders.
Mike said he and Lori are pleased that Haley has become involved in the program.
"It's good for the family," he said. "It's a family atmosphere and we never have to worry about where she is."
In addition to being the daughter of Lori and Mike, she is also the daughter of Charles Fauste of Waco, Ky.
The new season will begin in September. Haley will be on a 10-rodeo circuit with competitions at five sites throughout the state.
However, he said she may be riding in the county horse show at the 4-H Fair in a few weeks.
As for Haley, she's ready to ride.