Meet the Member Gentry Godbey
story by Ruth Nicolaus Gentry Godbey has a bright, sparkly personality. The cowgirl, a Colorado Junior High School Rodeo member, is upbeat, positive, and a […]
story by Lily Weinacht
Jessie Stillings of Cedaredge, Colorado, started rodeoing when she was 6, and today, the 12-year-old competes in the CJHSRA in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, and ribbon roping. She was inspired to rodeo by friends and family, and her uncle Joe Norris in particular. He took rodeo to the next level in the family growing up, and encouraged Jessie in her rodeo career from the start, giving Jessie her first rodeo horse and even one of the headstalls his best roping horse wore. “He wrote her a long letter about it and the money he’d won using it, and gave it to her for luck,” says Kacy Stillings, Jessie’s mom. “It’s her most prized possession, and she runs it on her barrel and pole horse now. Jessie’s a hard worker and she puts a lot of time and effort into her schoolwork and practice. We get her and her brother help and work with them, but she’s pretty self-motivated.”
Barrels and poles are Jessie’s favorite events, especially working as a team with her horse. “We try to ride almost every day. My parents, Keith and Kacy Stillings, and my friends, John and Lana Sulkey and Jody and Jesse Sheffield help me, and Brittany Brasfield is helping me with goat tying,” says Jessie. “My goal is to make it to Nationals and to keep having fun, and what makes me want to do it is that I get to spend more and more time with my horse every day.”
Her barrel and pole horse, Tres, is a buckskin paint. “He can act like a babysitting horse and he gets really excited before going into a run. He’s the best horse I’ve ever ridden,” Jessie describes. “For goats and breakaway, I have a sorrel horse named Lena. She helped me and my brother go through gymkhanas, and she’s really calm and mellow but she gets excited to run. I use my mom’s horse, Jojo, as a backup barrel and pole horse. My mom and I are very competitive in barrel racing.
Along with their four horses, Jessie’s family has goats, chickens, cats, and dogs, including Jessie’s dog, Zoi, who travels to rodeos with them. One of their goats goes to rodeos as well for Jessie to practice on, and she and her 9-year-old brother, Logan, take turns doing animal chores. Logan is a junior boy in the NLBRA this fall and competes in flag racing and goat tying, while Jessie competes in many of her same events in the NLBRA, along with trail course.
A seventh-grader at Cedaredge Middle School, Jessie enjoys playing trumpet in band. She also plays basketball, and hopes to add volleyball and track to her sports résumé this school year. Before school started, she and her mom competed in the Southwest Desert Classic barrel race in Salina, Utah. This summer, Jessie and her family went to the Glenwood Hot Springs and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, along with going fishing and boating with her grandparents. “I have friends come over and we hang out and do fire pits, and I like to go swimming. One of my friends we’re teaching how to do some of the (rodeo) events,” Jessie finishes. “My goal is to continue to improve and to keep my grades up.”
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