Angelones Among Us: Angelone Sisters Reflect on 2018 USTRC NFTR Cinch Ladies Championships
Angelone sisters, Martha and Sarah, win the 2018 USTRC NFTR Cinch Ladies Championship and $10,500 with an angel on their shoulders.

Angels Among Us

Sarah: We’re from Virginia and grew up roping on the East Coast, even though there’s not much roping there at all. My dad kind of had a mid-life crisis and decided he wanted to rope, so he taught both of us.

Martha: Ever since we were little girls, our dad taught us how to rope. My dad was more of a calf roper, but a guy named Ron Renzi helped us a lot with our team roping. Our dad had cancer for four years, and he passed away two years ago. At the Wildfire, we were second high call to win it and I told Sarah, ‘Let’s just win this for dad,’ but it didn’t go right. So, this time, I didn’t say anything, but it turns out we were both thinking it. It’s a real emotional subject for us because Dad was everything.

After the whole deal, we told each other what we were thinking about as we backed in the box at the Finals, and it just has a real special meaning to us. I’ve told everybody, I was just hoping Dad was watching us and seeing that we were doing what he wanted us to do.

Heads or Tails … er, Heels?

Sarah: I prefer to heel. We always practice that way. I head for Martha some, too, but we mainly practice the other way.

Martha: I’d rather heel. I heel everywhere. My sister used to always head for me whenever she had a head horse. Now, we kind of pick and choose at ropings. Lately, I’ve been heading for her because she has the better heel horses. For the Finals, we were literally fighting over who was going to head, and we did a coin toss in the kitchen. So I ended up heading for her.

First Round Surprise

Martha: We didn’t even know we won a fast time in the first round until we went to get our checks. We had no idea, honestly. I told Sarah, ‘We’re just going and roping in the pasture.’

Sarah: We were feeling good going into it because we had been practicing for a while, for that specific Final. But, we just knew that we had to be clean on four. That was our game plan going in.

Kierce Photography

Making Good on 2018 Goals

Sarah: We went into the year hoping to win Oklahoma. We’ve roped together for a long time, and we’ve won a little bit here and there, but we’ve never actually won anything like that before. (Sarah is the 2016 National High School Finals Rodeo Breakaway Champion and is currently attending Weatherford College on a rodeo scholarship.)

Martha: Together, this is the biggest win. And, it’s probably the biggest win that I’ve actually had. I’ve placed in high school nationals, and I’ve won rodeos, but I would put this at the top of my list for career wins.

Something ‘Bout an All-Girl

Martha: We practice all the the time together, but competing, Sarah’s always off at the college rodeos, and I do the UPRA rodeos and stuff all year, so whenever the all-girls come around, we usually try to rope together at all of them.

Sarah: I prefer to rope in the all-girls. I don’t know why, honestly. I used to fly out here when I was in high school to rope in some of the all-girls at like the Patriot or the Wildfire. They’re always a lot of fun, and it’s good competition.

Rising to the Challenge

Sarah: I have to work on always getting in my position and keeping my swing up. I struggle with keeping speed on my swing a lot. So, as long as I ride to position and keep speed on my swing, it makes my delivery a lot easier. And lately, I’ve also just been trying to keep good position to set me up for better shots.

Martha: With my heeling, my challenge is timing. That’s the biggest thing for me because I’ll either be ahead or behind and try to change in my delivery and it’s always gotten me, ever since I was little.

With my heading, it’s staying wider, so I can get a better handle. Especially on my yellow horse, the horse that I rode at the Finals. He was a baby, and we were kids and we grew up roping on him and he’s such a kid’s head horse kind of deal that if you let him get too close, like on the short-round, I let him face too fast. You have to make sure everything’s correct and that’s my biggest thing with him. I have to keep him wide and make sure he actually finishes with his face.

Roping in 2019

Sarah: I’m looking at the college finals, but the Wildfire, the Windy Ryon, the Patriot, any of those would be would be pretty awesome to win.

Martha: I hope that we can keep going forward with it because we rope at about every all-girl there is. I want to be able to do the same thing at the Wildfire, the Patriot, and the Windy Ryon—all those great ropings. And also, with my breakaway, I hope I qualify for the American. I want to be able to make the American and it would be cool, since they have the #10, it would be cool to qualify with my sister there because we’re a 9-team together. We haven’t tried to do anything like that because we’ve been so busy, but it would be cool to do with her.

Giving Thanks

Martha: We were blessed. My parents always kept us well mounted. I want to say thank you to my family and friends for the support they’ve put behind me, as well as my sponsors.

Sarah: And I would add that I’m thankful for the Ladd family for all they do for me.

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