Alexandra “Alex” Rayppy, the 2017 Miss Reno Rodeo is a very special ambassador to the wild horse adoption program! Born and raised in Reno, she is 20 years old and entering her senior year at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is currently working towards getting a degree in Kinesiology and plans to pursue a degree in Physical Therapy once she graduates.
Alex’s love for wild horses began as a child and still to this day a mustang is the only “breed” she rides – she started riding mustangs at the age of 6! Alex was a 4-H member for 8 years where she continued to learn and improve her riding skills and where her drive to compete in horsemanship events began. Since 2011, Alex and her adopted mustang “Boots” have been members of the Reno Rodeo Flag and Drill Teams.
The first mustang that Alex’s family adopted came from the Palomino Valley Center north of Reno when both Alex and the sorrel mare, Sierra were just 6 months old – that was March 1998! Sierra, now 20 years old, is from Jackson Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA) located in Nevada and is happily retired on Alex’s parents’ property in Reno, Nevada.
In 2009, as Sierra and Alex got older, the family decided it was time to adopt another mustang. They had heard advertising of an upcoming adoption at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center (NNCC) inmate-training program located in Carson City, Nevada so they downloaded a copy of the catalog and fell in love with a large black, five year old mustang named Boots. Boots, now 13 years young, was gathered when he was two years old from the Maverick-Medicine HMA located in Wells, Nevada. Because of his calm, cool personality, Alex says that people like to address him as “Mr. Cool”. Boots and Alex have a special bond that is indescribable; he has carried her through numerous rodeos, parades, and shows all over Nevada and the United States. Boots has become a notable ambassador for the mustangs in Northern Nevada for his recognizable markings and temperament; his silky black coat, embraces his freeze mark like a badge of honor. “To this day Boots continues to amaze me” says Alex, he has remained her loyal companion throughout her reign as the 2017 Miss Reno Rodeo.
The story of Alex’s love and loyalty for America’s wild horses doesn’t end with Boots and Sierra, due to the successful adoptions of those two, the family decided to add one more wild horse to the family herd. In June 2016, they returned to the NNCC after seeing the advertisement of the horses the prison was offering. Again, one caught their eye and they instantly fell in love with a sweet five year old sorrel horse named Norman. Norman was gathered as a foal in June 2011 from the Calico Mountains HMA located outside of Winnemucca, Nevada.
Alex takes a lot of pride in the fact that all three of her mustangs were born in her home state of Nevada! She says that as far as the future goes, she will stay loyal to the Mustangs and when it’s time to get another horse she plans to only adopt BLM wild horses. In addition, Alex plans on continuing to educate herself on the management of wild horses and will continue to represent the BLM adoption program and their remarkable animals. She plans to run for the title of Miss Rodeo Nevada next year – her hope is to be the first to win the title from the back of one of America’s Mustangs.
If you are interested in seeing Alex and Boots in action, she will not only be assisting in the arena every night during the Reno Rodeo which runs June 15-24 but they will be carrying the American Flag for the opening ceremonies at the Reno Rodeo Extreme Mustang Makeover (RR EMM) event June 23-24. For more information on the RR EMM and how you can adopt one of the competing Mustangs go to: http://www.renorodeo.com/events/2017/2017-extreme-mustang-makeover or http://extrememustangmakeover.com/events/nevada/. You can also see posts of the competing trainers and mustang teams throughout their 100 journey from “Wild to Mild by going to the BLM Nevada Facebook event page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1461024580597401/