$13,000 championship ride all in a day’s work for Hadlee Landers
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Images provided by Dacia Hilliary

ELGIN — Hadlee Blake Landers, 7, may be short on words, but she’s long on career rodeo accomplishments and awards, especially at such an early age.
Hadlee has earned lots of cash, saddles, belt buckles and plenty of notoriety during her brief career — a career that started when she was just 4 years old. She competes in barrel racing and pole bending and has beaten older competitors on a regular basis. Hadlee is a four-time pole bending champion, three-time barrel champion and won the 3D race at the 2021 All In Showdown in Las Vegas in December.
The youngster’s rodeo career is far from over. She plans to compete in junior rodeo associations and intends to attend larger barrel races this spring and summer, including the Patriot Rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas. The Patriot is the host of America’s richest combined equine events. Each year it brings together the past, present and future of the most entertaining competitive cowboy events.
Hadlee told The Chronicle she was “thrilled and excited,” and left the rest of the interview to her mother.
“Our best moments as a family happen at the rodeos,” her mother Dacia Hilliary said. “You win or learn. So much life is taught through rodeo. Success comes from the hard work you put in. If you’re not having fun, it’s not worth it.”
The biggest thrill so far came at the Las Vegas event, when Hadlee and her horse Bam crossed the finish line in 15.442 seconds to capture first place, a $13,000 cash prize and a $4,000 trophy saddle.
“We were ecstatic,” Hilliary said. “It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime moment. She was so over the moon.”
The pint-sized blonde rodeo competitor takes her rodeo competitions very seriously. Hadlee practices three to four hours each day and has multiple horses for each event. Typically, she will compete in barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping and goat tying. Each event requires a different horse.
At Las Vegas, it was Hadlee and Bam that took home the honors. The duo has been together the past six months and have reaped numerous rewards for their efforts.
“They’ve become a team pretty quick,” Hilliary said.
During the last two rodeo seasons, Hadlee has won the all-around cowgirl saddle, was reserve pole champion in 2021 and won 2020 5D Christmas cash.
Hadlee has won 3D, 4D and 5D rounds with the 3D bringing home the biggest money so far this season.
Hadlee gets her rodeo talent naturally from her father, Clayton Landers, who competed in rodeos and whose family raised cutting horses.