Meet the Member Wes Bray
story by Lily Weinacht Wes Bray clinched his goal for his final season of high school rodeo, finishing in the top 20 in the nation […]
story by Lily Weinacht
Barrel racer and pole bender Jayden Igo began rodeoing when she was eight, and this fall, she’s taking her favorite sport to the next level at Gillette College. “From being involved in other sports, it’s much more appealing to go ride my horses and be in that environment rather than in a basketball court,” says Jayden, 18. “I got a new horse a year and a half ago, and it took a really long time to get with him. But this year, we’ve finally started to click and it’s really satisfying to me that I never gave up on him.”
A native of Gillette, Wyoming, Jayden is the second generation on her mom’s side of the family to rodeo. She competed in the WHSRA three years, taking her sophomore year off to do outdoor track and basketball, but deciding to focus solely on rodeo her senior year. “It’s really hard to do both and keep my horses and myself in shape, and practice, so I had to pick and I went with rodeo. It’s what I enjoy most, and sometimes I miss other sports, but rodeo is something I want to do in college and as I continue to grow up.” Jayden will be rodeoing for Head Coach Will LaDuke in the barrel racing, and she plans to study either occupational therapy or business.
Jayden placed sixth in the second-go of the WHSRA state finals in the pole bending, and seventh in the short-go, and while she enjoys both her events and also tied goats for several years, she favors barrels over poles. “It’s just the adrenaline that barrels give me, and being around my horses,” she says. “It’s the one thing I fell in love with.” Jayden is also inspired by her friends and neighbors in rodeo. “My neighbors Pat and Jean Hladky have always been there if my parents are busy – they take me to high school rodeos because their daughter junior high rodeos, and last year while I was looking for a new horse, they let me borrow theirs. Joy Barlow and her family have always been welcoming in letting me use their barn in the winter, and Joy has been a lot of help getting me to where I am now.”
Jayden keeps her horses at her grandma’s farm, along with cows, chickens, and 4-H pigs and goats. “Growing up, I spent a lot of time out there, and in the summer, I’m there almost every day riding horses and doing things to help out.” Jayden’s grandma, Jeanine, is also the family renowned cook, and her roast beef and noodles is Jayden’s favorite meal. Jayden’s two horses, Jessie and Codger, are among those on the farm. Jessie is the new barrel horse Jayden has been riding since last August, and she runs poles on Codger, who belongs to Paula O’Connell. “Paula has definitely helped me out through rodeo,” says Jayden. “Her daughter, Emmy, and I went to school together for one year in elementary and ever since we’ve been friends and rodeoed together.”
Since graduating from Campbell County High School, Jayden has been competing in jackpots, working out, and spending time with friends and family, including her parents, Jay and Denise, and her 14-year-old brother, Jeric. “In the winter, my brother and I are pretty big into snowboarding. Our neighbors have a condo at Big Sky Resort, so over Christmas we spend about a week there. In December, I plan on going to the All-In Barrel Race in Las Vegas,” she finishes, “and I want to have a successful college rodeo season this next year.”
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