ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Over 670 high school rodeo contestants are in Abilene, competing for $244,000 in total payouts and $150,000 in scholarships during the Texas State High School Finals Rodeo (TSHSFR).
The life of a rodeo athlete can be a long one. Long nights of travel, taking care of their animals, dealing with injuries and for the students competing at the Texas State High School Finals Rodeo, pairing that with school.
Those long hours of working with your horses and trainers to become a top athlete in the state all become worth it at the state’s highest level.
For 18-year old Faith Farris of Midway, it’s been her dream to be in the arena since was just six-years-old. The love for rodeo, and the cutting horse event, runs deep in her family, as her grandfather, dad, brother and cousins all competed and had great success.
However, for Faith – she took their family’s winning to another level, but you would not know it when you first meet her. She is incredibly humble and said she gives 90% of the credit for her wins to her family, horse and trainers.
She was born to be in the arena, and you can tell by the ear-to-ear smile that glows across her face as soon as she hops onto her horse, Phil.
“It’s like, you can’t put it into words, all I know its moreso a feeling that I can’t go without it,” Farris said.
A passion instilled in her from a very early age, Farris has worked her way into the top cutting horse competitors in the state, even winning last year’s State Championship title. Her success does not stop there though, as she has a Junior and Senior World Championship title, as well from riding with the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA).
However, on the arena floor, that smile turns to intense competitor, but it was not always that way.
“I remember I was grinning ear to ear so hard that I didn’t stop smiling when I was showing until I was 11 years old,” Farris said. “My dad finally had told me ‘hey you gotta look serious or no one’s going to take you seriously if you don’t look serious.’ Even to this day I have a hard time not smiling and grinning ear to ear during the whole thing.”
It’s her joy of being with her horses, a strong connection a rider and horse share, where you see that smile get even bigger and brighter.
However, while that smile stays brighter than the stars above, it’s not the saddles or buckles she has won that bring her the most joy and purpose, nor is it the championships won on her grandfather’s saddle.
“The Lord gives us chances and opportunities to do things and you have to go for it, but I know I didn’t do it alone.” Farris said.
It’s her strong faith in God that she finds her joy in, praying continuously throughout her competitions. She said it’s her unwavering faith that has also led her to a place of comfort as she prepares to make big career decisions heading into college.
“I love the feeling of making women feel beautiful. I love the feeling of making them feel good and their faces lighting up when their face and hair is done,” Farris said.
From the rodeo arena with no makeup, callused hands and beads of sweat rolling down her temple to cosmetology school, bringing to life another passion she has, beauty.
Farris said she plans to attend cosmetology school near Bryan/College Station, then follow up her education with a business degree from Texas Tech University in order to start her own business.
However, Farris said regardless of where she goes, her horse Phil won’t be far behind. A Valentine’s gift from her father in 2018, Phil has become a place of strength for Farris. She said she has even branded her beauty accounts and business after him, dolling him up with eyelash extensions and red lipstick.
Farris said she will try to balance cutting competitions with school while in Texas Tech, competing in local rodeos if she is able. She also said she’s willing to pursue a career in rodeo, but said she is just trying to follow the Lord’s guidance.
If you are interested in seeing other makeup works Farris has done, follow her professional page on Instagram, @F_Bar.Beauty.