Christina and Victoria Cross did it all together.
The graduating senior twins from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. competed in light rifle shooting at this year’s National High School Finals Rodeo, but in recent years they’ve competed in everything from cowhorse to cutting. They also ski, create art, complete scientific discoveries and even earned black belts in taekwondo, a Korean form of martial arts, in eighth grade.
While in taekwondo, they competed in many tournaments and proved themselves in pair competition, where they had to match each other’s moves as they worked on different martial arts patterns.
“We were pretty good because we’re twins so all of our moves are exactly the same,” Christina said.
“And it’s easier to practice because you already have a partner,” Victoria added.
Although they no longer compete in martial arts competitions, they still take with them the lessons they learned at a young age in many different fields, including rodeo.
“The main tenets of taekwondo, like perseverance, courtesy, integrity, indomitable spirit, are completely transferable (to rodeo) and you can really apply it to anything,” Christina said. “And those are also the main traits of rodeo, with such pure people.”
“You know when to be gentle and you know when to be tough,” Victoria added.
The same principles are also applied when working with their horses. The two want to one day own a ranch where they raise and train cow horses with their friend Roger Blackmore. The Cross and Blackmore family recently moved to Sheridan to pursue those dreams.
Throughout their participation in the various events and competitions, they noticed some differences in their approach to horses, perhaps due to the principles they built during their time at the dojang.
“It’s like the principles of taekwondo and some people don’t have all of them. They’ll get on top of the horse and they won’t have that courtesy to the horse,” Victoria said. best horses.”
In their training, they ensure that the animals know exactly what to expect from them every time.
“It’s a very fine moral line,” Christina said. “You ask, say, promise and enforce (the horse), sometimes people just enforce.”
The relationship they establish with the animal lets the horse know what to expect from it each time it rides. In the same way, the horse then knows exactly what the rider expects of him.
One by one
Every year the girls like to try and add a new event to their repertoire and last year it was team roping.
Just like taekwondo, Victoria said rodeo is a lot of trial and error and learning as you go.
Their mum Louise said that even with the hiccups that come with learning something new, the girls still find something positive on every outing.
“The biggest anger I feel is if I miss, I’m sad she didn’t get a chance to play tug of war,” Christina said of the team. “I can’t imagine lassoing for someone else, I would be so nervous. But for us, we understand.
“We have great memories, even of our failures,” Victoria said. She said that often, even if one of them misses their shot, they would highlight their horses’ position or even their time out of the box, never focusing too long on the negatives of the race. .
But just because they do everything together doesn’t mean they always get along.
“Sometimes it’s worse because we know what the other is thinking,” Christina said.
“We have such high expectations of each other,” Victoria said with a laugh.
These expectations lead to disagreements that are resolved after some discussion.
But expectation also leads to great success.
In sixth grade, the two worked together to form a satellite proposal that was accepted by NASA and launched into space. They designed the satellite to see what types of bacteria can and cannot grow in space.
Both are also artists, with perhaps the biggest difference between the two coming in the style of art they choose to create. Victoria dives into painting and drawing, while Christina leans more towards graphic design and the video-graphic side of things.
“It’s crazy to come in and hear them talk about so many different worlds and go back and forth between rodeo, art and science,” Louise said.
She said the twins’ time at Gillette had been amazing and a great way to end their final competition, complimenting the kindness they showed to everyone in town and the well-organized events she had. seen at the Cam-plex throughout the week.
Next summer, the two plan to attend the Coast Guard Academy and learn to be rescue pilots, something else close to their hearts. They are sad to leave part of rodeo life behind, but are also excited about the new venture.
“All parents want their children to be well-rounded,” Louise said. “I definitely have that.”