HELENA — Thursday night, 13-year-old Eva and 15-year-old Annastin Maier took on the East Helena Rodeo for the in-county performances, both of them competing in barrel racing.
Annastin competed on her horse Punky.
“She's nine years old. And she's we've had she was born on our ranch and we've my mom's the one that trained her and raised her and she's down to California for barrels and everything. So this is her first rodeo ever competing. So this will be exciting,” she said.
And Eva on her horse Maggie.
“She's about 12 and she's super, super sweet. She was bred for speed. And I've been competing with her for a while. She just got off of rehab. She had knee surgery. So this will be her first rodeo back so it'll be really really nice,” she said.
The Maier’s have competed in the East Helena Rodeo for the past couple of years, but they grew up riding in this very arena and it keeps them coming back.
“Probably with how well they put it on. It's just really well put together. And they put a lot of planning into it. And the whole community kind of puts in, there's flyers all over the place. So just the way it's put together,” Annastin said.
"Everybody's super, super supportive, super nice. We know a lot of the people here and it's nice to see new faces around as well...
I love just hanging out with everybody. And it's a lot of fun. Again, everybody's super supportive. So it's really, really nice,” Eva added.
And of course, the home crowd advantage excites the Maiers.
“I love performing for a home crowd specifically just because you know, the crowd. And I'm really excited for the show, because it's usually a really big crowd. And this is usually quite a big appearance here. So I'm really excited for this one,” Annastin said.
“I'm excited. It's fun. I'm a little bit used to it, I’ve been riding for quite a long time. So it's a little bit nerve wracking, but it's definitely fun,” Eva added.
The main NRA performance will be held Friday and Saturday, where you’ll see Annastin on her Palomino mare.