Jessie Calkins is making a name for herself in the rodeo world.
Calkins, a junior at Glen Rose High School, competed in the Eighth Annual State FFA Rodeo in July and placed fifth as a one-man team.
The rodeo, which was a three-day event in Dallas, was divided into three rounds. The three rounds Calkins competed in were break-away roping, goat tying and team roping. She won first place in the short round of break-away roping, second in goat tying and won a jackpot worth $1,800. She won an average of third place in break-away roping and goat tying.
“I’ve won a lot,” she said. “It’s nice. It was nice and exciting to win all the money back for everything we put into it.”
Calkins, the only female to place in the top 10 for a one-man team, said she has been riding horses ever since she could walk. Rodeo is a sport that requires a lot of dedication, she said.
“You don’t have to be raised (doing it) but you have to have the willpower, time, effort and money to do it. You have to love it,” Calkins said.
Other than the love of the game, one must have the right equipment, which includes a steady horse.
“You have to have a good horse,” Calkins said. “You have to be mounted right because that is a huge part of it. We have been very lucky as a family to have the horses we do because they are good.”
Calkins is the first-ever to win a banner in FFA Rodeo for Glen Rose High School, but it is lonely at the top. She is the only student in Glen Rose who participates in rodeo.
“I know a lot of people who do ride, but they don’t compete,” she said. “If they are going to be involved in horses they are going to be in Stephenville. We go to Stephenville a lot and compete at Lone Star Arena.”
If she isn’t competing for pleasure, she is competing for titles. Calkins participates in 10 regular-season high school rodeos each year as well as regional finals, where she qualifies for state. She has qualified both her freshman and sophomore years and hopes to repeat the process for the next two - and possibly beyond.
“Once I graduate high school I want to go down to (Texas) A&M like my brother and college rodeo,” she said. “I want to major in business management and marketing. From there, I don’t know.”