2018 International Finals Youth Rodeo

Gunters And Soileaus: Good Ol' Sibling Rivalries At 2018 IFYR

Gunters And Soileaus: Good Ol' Sibling Rivalries At 2018 IFYR

For many rodeo kids out there, the first person you compete against is your sibling. Read about two of those sibling rivalries at the 2018 IFYR.

Jul 19, 2018 by Katy Lucas
Gunters And Soileaus: Good Ol' Sibling Rivalries At 2018 IFYR

For many rodeo kids out there, the first person you compete against when you start getting ready to rodeo is your sibling. Your home arena may play host to hundreds of Cheyennes, Calgary Stampedes, and NFRs where siblings battle it out and learn how to be competitive. 

Two sibling rivalries that were exciting to watch at the 2018 International Finals Youth Rodeo were between the Gunter girls in the pole bending and the Soileau boys in the steer wrestling. In each case, both siblings made the short round and, when it came down to it, both had a chance to win when they entered the arena for their final runs. 

The Gunters: Gabby And Brooklyn Battle It Out In The Pole Bending

Gabby Gunter Wins IFYR Pole Bending

For the last two years, the pole bending at the IFYR has been dominated by Brooklyn Gunter and her wonder horse “Blaze.” In 2016 they came in and set the single-run record at 19.303, as well as the aggregate record and, of course, won their first IFYR pole bending title. 

Gunter came back and did it again in 2017, and had her sights set on a third title in 2018 (read the full story HERE), but not if little sister Gabby had anything to say about it.

After a terrible rodeo season, to say the least, Gabby Gunter surprised even herself at the 2018 IFYR by winning both go-rounds with times of 19.518 and 19.459, respectively. 

“It means a lot to me and my horse because we weren’t doing good this year,” said the younger Gunter. “We had a broken arm, actually I didn’t rodeo for half the year but [when] I came back I still didn’t make a clean time, I didn’t make it to state, then we came here and it was just a new slate.”

Big sister wasn’t going to go down without a fight, though. Brooklyn came in to the short round in the No. 4 spot after placing seventh in round one with a time of 20.354, and third in round two with a time of 20.050.

As the rodeo game goes, you can’t win them all. The elder Gunter knocked a pole in the short go to take herself out of contention for her third-straight title, so it was little sister's turn to take her shot.

“We were talking about it, me and my family, and we were just thinking clean run and I’m going to get it,” said Gabby. “So that’s what was going through my mind: ‘Clean run, come on, you got it.’”

“I didn’t expect any of this,” said Gunter. “To be honest, I only packed two pairs of pants because I didn’t think I would make it to the short go, much less win it.”

She can afford to just buy new pants after keeping the poles up in the short round to win third that day with a 20.083, the aggregate, and IFYR title and a total of $4,334.40. Even though Brooklyn would have loved to have won a third title, Gunter knows that a family win is still a win in her sister’s eyes.

“I know she [Brooklyn] really wanted to win it, so me winning it, I know she’s happy for me. She would rather it be me than anybody else.”

The Soileaus: Steer Wrestling Brothers Gavin And Grant

Gavin Soileau IFYR Steer Wrestling Champion

Another one of the great sibling rivalries we saw at the 2018 IFYR was in the steer wrestling between brothers Gavin and Grant Soileau. Grant came into the short round in the No. 4 spot with a time of 11.9 on two, Gavin in No. 1 with his time of 9.8.

See where both of these brothers currently sit on FloRodeo’s The Rank

A steer that ran hard to the left took Grant out of the race with a no-time as it cut in front of his horse, so it was time for Gavin to move in for the win. Soileau knew he had a good steer to do it on too after another competitor had made a 4.8-second run on him earlier in the week.

“I had to see a little bit on the barrier,” said Gavin of his short round draw. “He was a little bit slower than some of the other ones we had and I knew he was going to check off on the ground so I got down a little earlier and was ready for it.”

This skill and ability to plan for any situation didn’t come overnight; it came from those hundreds of practice sessions where siblings battle it out for imaginary titles in their arenas at home, making it possible to win on the road.

“This is what we work for in the practice pen every day, to try to get here and for us to both be able to make the short round, and him his sophomore year, is great,” said Gavin. “We always push each other, try to make each other better, we have a competition every time we’re in there.” 

See the full results for the 2018 IFYR HERE.