Happy Mother’s Day

Experiencing Motherhood for First Time

By Kristen M. White

Any parent can tell you there’s a lot of adjusting to do when you add a baby to the family. And when you add in the chaotic nature of rodeo competition and frequent travel, that takes new parenthood to a whole new level.

The Yates Family

Photos Courtesy Yates family

Miley Grace Yates

Photos Courtesy Yates family

In honor of Mother’s Day, WPRA spoke with a couple of new or soon-to-be moms about their journey so far, and how life is changing with a tiny person in the mix.

Cowgirl Loni Kay Yates and her husband, tie-down roper Marty Yates, had a baby girl in November 2023. Now that Miley Grace is about six months old, Loni Kay said she’s getting back into the swing of rodeo with her tiny sidekick in tow.

“I want her to stay this size forever!” Yates said. “She loves to be with us at all times. It’s definitely more hands-on for everybody. I might need to ask my husband to help with my horses and it takes a bunch of us to make this work, but it’s so worth it.”

For the first few rodeos, Yates said they had a little bit of family helping them juggle all the moving parts of both competing while caring for an infant, but since then, they’re learning how to make things work between them. Some days are more challenging than others, but they’re rolling with the punches.

“In Logandale, Marty won and I placed, so it was good, but that day – I don’t know why – Miley only wanted me. Marty had to put the bit on my barrel horse before the event, and then he met me at the gate and told me to hurry back to the trailer. She’s a mostly easy-going baby, but that was one of those nights!”

Still, all the baby snuggles and the joy of adding to their family has been worth the extra work. Yates took several months off, stopping competition last June. While it was sometimes hard not to be on horseback, she said she knew the sacrifice was for a short time in her life. She had a c-section, so she then wanted to give her body plenty of time to heal before she hit the arena again.

“My first rodeo back was Fort Worth. I took my time,” she said. “I was curious how different I would feel riding, but I think I gave my body the healing time it needed.”

Yates is concentrating on barrels and baby for now, figuring she can pick up breakaway roping at some point in the future again if she wants to. She’d love to make the NFR of course, but she’s playing everything by ear and trying to make every rodeo count.

“Marty is sitting really good in the world, and I told him I’ll focus on where I think my horse will like. Not doing anything super crazy for Miley and me to focus on what is best for the horse and baby and we’ll see where the year takes us.”

Taylor and Shane Hanchey

Photo Courtesy Hanchey Family

On the other side of things, Taylor Hanchey is eagerly awaiting May 20, when her c- section is planned and when baby boy Stran Jacob Hanchey (with husband Shane) will arrive. She competed for a while until she felt like it was time to take a break, and has been “the pony girl, catcher, all the things that somebody has to do” while she awaits her due date.

And while she’s missed competition and being on the road, just like Yates, she said she knows this is such a small season in life and with it comes the addition to their family, so it’s a good sacrifice to make.

What will life with baby Stran bring? Only time will tell.

“I did buy a new horse while I was pregnant,” she said with a laugh. “I haven’t ridden him yet though. I would love to be out there on the road by the Fourth of July run – that’s my high hope if everything goes smoothly. But if not, then we’ll just adjust.

“I’ve taken a real go with the flow, don’t make any major plans attitude during this pregnancy because I think you can have all these plans and then God laughs at them.”

She concentrates on breakaway roping, so Taylor and Shane don’t normally travel together because they can’t buddy with each other when entering to get drawn up the same at rodeos. Therefore, her mom plans to travel with her and the baby to help out. Taylor and Shane will both continue to rodeo in whatever fashion baby allows and just roll with it.

Wherever the rodeo trail takes the Hancheys and the Yates crew as they add to their little families, there’s no doubt there will be plenty of members of the rodeo family at large who are willing to hold a baby, help with a horse or anything else needed as the new parents settle into life as units of three.


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431 South Cascade
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

(719) 447-4627   |   (719) 447-4631 (fax)


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