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An all-around career for Landry Haugen

Landry Haugen

From a rookie cowgirl to multiple trips to nationals, and now, an all-around cowgirl finish to an impressive high school career – Landry Haugen of Sturgis was born to be a rodeo winner.

Both her parents, Dee and Tyler, had professional careers with rodeo as well. It only makes sense that their oldest daughter Landry was also built to make her own run with the sport.

“Both my parents were highly competitive, and so I think I inherited that gene. I think I'm also very competitive. At the same token, both my parents didn't have a whole lot of opportunity to rodeo and be successful, so they made a lot for themselves and then they've given me a lot,” said Landry Haugen. “And so, with great opportunity comes that pressure. I know that I'm not necessarily expected to do well, but I've been given a lot, and so the expectation to work hard and to succeed is definitely there. And so, it's fun when it pays off, because it is a family deal.”

Landy Haugen

At the 2023 South Dakota High School Rodeo Finals, Haugen won state titles in Girls Cutting and Goat Tying.

“Two different universes, absolutely,” explained Haugen. “One's a timed event, one is scored. So, [cutting’s] a lot more like a show, I'm showing you my horse, I'm showing you myself, I'm showing you my skill. Whereas, instead of two-and-a-half-minutes, I was just six-five seconds in the goat tying.”

Haugen has quite the resume to show to this point. As a freshman, she was named rookie cowgirl and was the reserve for all-around cowgirl. She won both barrel racing and cutting. During her sophomore year at state, Haugen won in barrels and pole bending, qualified for nationals as well in reined cow horse, and was the all-around cowgirl.

Last year, Haugen was named reserve all-around cowgirl and went to nationals in pole bending, and now this year, two more state titles (cutting and goat tying), and another all-around honor as well.

“I think if you expect to win, then generally, you will. So absolutely was the game plan,” Haugen stated. “I’ve never made the national high school finals in goat tying. I made it in junior high finals, and I love to tie goats. I worked really hard at the goat tying, from my perspective. It’s that time in the practice pin paying off.”

Landy Haugen

Along with crediting family and friends for support during her career, she also loves her Scratchy.

“I use him in the goat tying. I also rope on him. And he's been instrumental to my success,” Haugen stated. “He's an amazing little horse. He's not very old. So, I've grown up with him and that's pretty special.”

Next year, Landry Haugen will attend the University of Wyoming where she’ll continue her rodeo career at the collegiate level.

“Honestly, I think some change will be nice. Not necessarily different people, a little bit different rodeo set up, different competition,” said Haugen. “I think that that'll be enjoyable and stuff. And then again, the opportunity to meet new people. Meet new friends, for sure.”

As far as her high school career, winning state titles, and getting to compete at nationals, Haugen said it’s the people she’s shared it with along the way that has genuinely made it special.

“I love to compete. Like I said, I inherited that gene. So the win was fun, but the nerves I felt before were more fun, in my opinion. I'm the kind of individual that if you ask me to jump out of a plane, I would. I'm an adrenaline junkie. So I love that,” she said with a chuckle. “But then also the friendships. Some of these people that you meet are the best people you will ever meet and are lifelong friends, so I think that that's worth more than any state title.”

Haugen, and the other South Dakota competitors who qualified for nationals, will compete in Gillette, Wyoming on July 16-22.

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.