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Ride Like the Wind

Senior Payton Bundy Officially Commits to the University of Tennessee Martin to Further Her Academic and Athletic Career at the Division One Level

Photo by Brooke Nohle/Maclay Andalusian

Senior Payton Bundy officially committed to the University of Tennessee Martin (UTM) on Nov. 9, 2023, where she will compete on their division one equestrian team. Bundy always knew that she wanted to have a future with horses. Since the age of six, she rode her family’s horses and have weekly riding lessons. Bundy initially got interested in being on an equestrian team in college at the age of 12, where she discovered reining.

Bundy began her reining career at Bart Corrington Reining Horses where she practiced multiple times a week under her trainer Bart Corrington. After a year of practice, Bundy began showing on her first reining horse in the summer of 2020. They continued to learn and grow together at shows for two years, until she knew she needed to move to the next level.

In December 2021, Bundy got her second reining horse – a much younger, prospect horse. By having two horses, she had more opportunities to compete at the higher level. It was this step that ultimately made Bundy’s dreams of being on a college team come true.

Bundy began narrowing down her college choices during her sophomore year, where she visited a multitude of colleges at their equestrian camps. After having been a part of UTM’s equestrian camp, she knew this is where she wanted to further her college career.

“It felt like home,” Bundy said. “As soon as I stepped on campus, I knew this [UTM] was the place for me.”

On Aug. 22, 2023, Bundy received a phone call that would change her life forever. UTM Equestrian Head Coach Kim Leiter offered Bundy a spot on their western team. She accepted and was verbally committed for three months until Nov. 9, 2023 when she officially signed.

Bundy’s signing opened with an opening speech of recognition from Athletic Director Harold Hilliard, which was then followed by words of appreciation from her parents Vikki and Butch Bundy.

“It is surreal,” V. Bundy said. “It’s amazing  to realize how much time has passed and how her skills have developed.”

With friends and family watching, Bundy officially signed to the UTM to be a part of their equestrian team.

“It [Being a collegiate athlete] feels really good,” P. Bundy said. “I am proud of myself for all of the dedication I put into my sport.”

The signing came to a close and everyone came to congratulate Bundy, celebrating with pictures and cupcakes brought in by her family.


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Andy Poll

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