By Amy C. Witt
From breaking their own horses to roping calves, to being excellent in their professions, to being mothers, wives, aunts, and daughters, the Hundsdorfer sisters are stellar women full of grace and beauty inside and outside of the arena. Through their faith, hard work and dedication, they have continuously risen to the top, and not just as athletes but as women.
Born and raised in the Central Valley, rodeo and breakaway roping has always been an influential and important aspect of their life. Hailee Edwards, the oldest of the sisters, has been married for five years and is a mother of two. Most days she is a registered nurse, but currently she is taking the time to be with her family as a stay at home mom. Hailee won the California High School Rodeo (CHSRA) State Finals Breakaway championship, along with the California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association (CCPRA) Rookie Cowboy of the Year title. Quin Douglass, a twin sister to Hanna, works in the electrical industry and most recently got married. Quin has won the Bad Girls breakaway roping in Coalinga, and qualified twice for the College National Finals Rodeo. Hanna Snodgrass, who has been married for three years, works in the Child Development field. In college rodeo, she qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo as well. Together, the sisters are on a mission to help girls and women of all ages and levels become more confident and stronger breakaway ropers.
Last year, Hailee, Hanna, and Quin competed in the All-In Breakaway in Las Vegas, NV. Hanna qualified for the Shoot Out round.
“From never swinging a rope before to furthering their roping career, we truly love helping people grow in the sport. We provide lessons for people that want to learn the fundamentals of roping with working on the dummy and sled to live cattle as well. We are willing to take outside horses to tune up or get them started in the roping pen. This is a family sport so you will always see all the support of each of us girls and our parents. We will push you and guide you to become a better roper and rider,” say the sisters.
The family’s loving, caring, inspiring nature and the environment they provide is moving and motivating. From the polished arena to great pen of calves to the energy and happiness that flows, the Hundsdorfer sisters go above and beyond for every individual. Personally, they have helped me significantly. Not only with perfecting my body posture, swing, and scoring, but they’ve offered me new perspectives, tools, and techniques to really allow me to grow as a roper both mentally and physically. Regardless of how practice goes or your roping abilities, through their lessons and sessions, you will leave their arena feeling refreshed, inspired, motivated, and overall just excited to be involved in the sport of breakaway, especially having the Hundsdorfer as part of your support.
“Breakaway has taught us girls so much over the years. It has taught us hard work, responsibilities and patience. These animals are athletes that we have to take care of. They will become your best friends; you gain so much trust and give so much trust. In this sport it is all what we put in. If you want it bad and are always practicing you can and will become the best. There is always something to learn in those longs nights in the arena and spending many hours on the ground roping the dummy. We have the power to make our own destiny. We are always willing to help; we want to bring anyone that has the dream to rope and give them the knowledge we have,” Hundsdorfer sisters.
Who or what inspires you and why?
Our parents would have to be our biggest inspiration. They have instilled great work ethic in the three of us girls. And, God over all! He has gotten us this far. Without the faith in our God we won’t be where we are today.
What does breakaway roping mean to you?
Breakaway roping means so much to us. It brings back so many memories of our childhood. This sport and event have had such a big impact on us girls growing up. Breakaway roping has been the one event that we would love to practice. Yes, you have to have a good horse, but it isn’t all about the horse. You, the roper are a big part in breakaway. It takes a lot of patience in making a breakaway horse but it is the best feeling.
What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of breakaway roping?
Breakaway roping is such a mental game. We can get into our own heads and sometimes let that get the best of us. When you go to a roping you have to know you are the best and have the confidence to go out and have fun.
How do you mentally prepare before competing?
This all happens in the practice arena. If you are prepared, you will go to competition with confidence. Break it down mentally and focus on one calf at a time. You can’t overwhelm yourself with thinking about the average. Instead, just focus on what is in front of you.
Favorite thing about breakaway roping?
Our favorite part is being able to showcase women’s athletic ability in the rodeo industry.
What excites you about the evolution of breakaway roping?
We hope as a whole that the industry grows to the point that you see breakaway roping at the NFR. The hardest part for us was after college rodeo if you were a breakaway roper that was basically the end of the road for us. We hope that one day we can find a breakaway jackpot to go to just as easily as we can find a barrel race. Even for girls that don’t necessarily want to haul down the road professionally they can still haul to a local jackpot and have the opportunity to rope. This would be monumental for the women with a family, kids, and a job. We would still be able to get out there and rope like we used to. For Hailee, personally, who has a daughter; it brings such joy to see the possibilities for future generations that were not there when we were younger.
Where do you see yourself in five years or any specific career goals
Being entered at the American and NFR someday. Our mission is to make our own rope horses. Every horse that we have ever breakaway roped off of throughout the years and to this day we have made ourselves. We want to be known as making high quality, nice competitive breakaway horses that way one day our children can rope off of them and maybe even sell a few. We also love seeing the girls that we have helped through the years be competitive ropers. Our final goal for this year is to haul our younger horses to more jackpots and to help the sport grow. We also plan to host more breakaway clinics. We hope to see more girls riding our horses that we have made over the years and we hope to help more athletes in the sport we love. We hope to make more girls’ dreams come true by giving them the opportunity we had growing up and having some amazing breakaway horses.
Any advice you could give?
One thing is to never give up! Yes, we all have bad days but there are plenty good ones to make up for it. There will always be another jackpot/rodeo coming so don’t give up on your dreams. Always give it 110%, it’s about practicing on the days that you don’t want to, the days that you aren’t practicing there is someone that is. It’s all about living with a rope in your hand. Rope the dummy or bale every single day. You have to put in the work if you want to become the best.
Any tips for practicing on the ground?
Do not always take the same shot. You have to practice different shots on the ground. You aren’t going to have the perfect straight running calf every time. Another tip is to rope through the shoulder, you want to see the figure 8 on the other side of the calf’s head.
Tips for practicing horseback?
Rope for your horse! Make sure your horse is being honest and scores good. If you miss and your horse worked great, don’t take it out on them. You have to let your horse know that they did what they needed and that they did their job. Go back to roping off the ground; don’t punish your horse for you having a bad day in the practice pen.
The sisters and their family raise their own cows and calves and use the calves to practice on.
Tyler and Hailee Edward with their children, Leland and Adelynn, mother Debbie, newlyweds Craig and Quin Douglass, father Ryan, and Hanna and Zak Snodgrass. – Q+C Photography
The author of the blog, California Dreamin’ (www.caliidreamin.com), Amy Witt’s articles have appeared in magazines and newspapers around the world. A fashionista, cowgirl and journalist, Amy strives to motivate and inspire people around the world.