story by Siri Stevens Tony Keeton started his company, Rockin’ K Rodeo in 2017. It’s not his only full time job. Tony has worked for […]
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Meet the Member Jamie Ellsworth
story by Lily Weinacht
Rodeo has been a part of Jamie Ellsworth’s life for as far back as her memory reaches. The 29-year-old breakaway roper from Pageland, S.C., was raised on rodeo in upstate New York, abundant with summer rodeos. The official sport of her family, Jamie’s parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents all competed in or helped produce rodeos. Growing up in such a rodeo-centric atmosphere gave Jamie a foundation in the sport that has sustained her long since leaving home. “There’s not a single person in my family that does not support me in rodeo,” says Jamie. “Anything you do in rodeo, they want you to do the best you can.” Her two brothers, Lee and Olin, continue to rodeo, while their younger sister, Sierra, is starting her own rodeo career.
Jamie grew up barrel racing and breakaway roping, but by the time she reached college, her barrel horse was too old to chase cans anymore. Jamie went solely to breakaway roping, competing in the SRA while attending the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she majored in organizational communications. Following graduation from college, she moved to South Carolina, finding her sweet spot in Pageland, which she describes as close to home, but not as cold.
Jamie started breakaway roping in the IPRA in 2011, the first year the association sanctioned the event. She qualified for the IFR the same year, going on to win the world title in 2012, the same year that her boyfriend, Alex Brooks, won the world team roping as a heeler. “I’m pretty competitive,” she says. “I don’t like to go if I don’t feel I have a chance, so I put in the work! My brother, Lee, rodeoed here for a while, and Alex and I rodeo together. It’s just our life!”
Her roping horse, Spook, further motivates Jamie to rodeo and to do it well. The 19-year-old gelding has been in the Ellsworth family for nearly 12 years. “He’s quirky, but when it comes to roping, he’s as honest as they come,” Jamie explains. “If you miss, it’s your fault, because he does everything he can to give you the best opportunity to win.” Jamie roped on one of her brother’s horses at the IFR in January to give Spook a rest, and she tied for first place in the second round and won the fourth. One of her next goals is to find a new roping horse before she retires Spook, though she admits that next horse will have some big horseshoes to fill after Spook.
When she is not rodeoing, Jamie works at Plyler Farms in the office, though she also helps with the animals. The farm raises beef cattle, as well as pine needles for landscaping mulch. It is also home to 20 rope horses, multiple farm dogs, cats, and donkeys, as well as Jamie’s two dogs – a Dachshund named Chili, and a Rottweiler named Reno. “They go to all the rodeos with me. Everybody knows those dogs, and they are spoiled rotten!” Jamie says with a laugh.
Her future goals include qualifying for the IFR again, but Jamie explains that when she sets large goals for herself, she often pressures herself too much. “I didn’t set out to win the world title in 2012, and it happened! I just want to put myself in a position to win and let it go from there,” she says. “I can’t be gone rodeoing as much anymore, but if the chance arises again for the IFR, I would not turn it down. But as long as I’m having fun, I’m happy!”