story by Lindsay Humphrey “I’m not much of a planner,” said Ryan Bestol of his storied rodeo career so far. “When I get something in […]
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Meet the Member Jacey Jensen
story by by Lindsay King
NSRA scholarship recipient Jacey Jensen graduated from Burwell High School this past spring and has big plans to attend Colby Community College. She will be on a track and equestrian team scholarship while majoring in equine science this fall. “I will be on both the western and hunt seat team. I will also high jump and run some races for the track team.” A pole bender since she was little, Jacey is an accomplished equestrian in rodeo. She finished the high school season in sixth place in the poles. Jacey also runs barrels and breakaway ropes. “I rode with my dad [Mark] when he was competing in amateur rodeos in the bull dogging as much as I could. When Randi, my step mom, came along, she started teaching me how to run barrels and poles in the third grade.” Jacey has two step sisters, Ashlyn, 15, and Jymmie, 13, as well as two brothers, Brody, 8, and Whitten, 2. “When we go rodeo it is more of a family event. We do not go on any vacations because we rodeo all the time.” Jacey runs barrels and poles on Boss, a 16-year-old dun who originally belonged to their cousin but quickly became part of the Jensen family. “Every time I get done riding Boss we put Whitten on him, he just loves it. I have never seen a horse with so much character. When Boss gets tired of Whitten riding he will start prancing around until we pull him off.” Jacey breakaway ropes off Cowboy and runs barrels on their mare, Sam.
Jacey started in 4-H so she could learn to ride properly, something their mom has had all the kids do before getting to rodeo. “I have always liked being around the horses and then competing on them makes it that much better. It is something that once I started I never wanted to stop.” A busy schedule kept Jacey performing at her highest level throughout high school. She played volleyball, basketball and track all while continuing to rodeo. “I enjoyed never having any down time and always going from one thing to the next. I would come home from a practice and Jymmie would have my horses saddled so we were ready to ride.” Jacey’s junior year was tough in the rodeo pen leaving her anxious for her final year. “Rodeo is such a mental game; you have to focus on what you want. And know what you need to do to accomplish what you want to and your mindset has to follow.” Most weekends during the spring and summer are spent on the rodeo road. “Most of the time in the spring I would have a track meet the day before we would leave for a rodeo so I would pack as soon as I got home and away we went.” Last summer the Jensen family moved into town, leaving their horses ten miles away in a pasture. “It makes it a lot harder to practice when the horses are so far away and we have to bring them all the way back into town to ride. We make it work though.” Jacey’s favorite part of rodeo is getting to face her fears in adversity and making the best of a good situation. Support inside and out of the arena is what made Jacey’s rodeo experience in Nebraska great. “I am very appreciative of any type of support I get on this new adventure. It is nice knowing that people believe in me and my past accomplishments enough to give me a scholarship for college. It means even more coming especially from an organization like the NSRA. There is no better feeling.”