story by Ruth Nicolaus Madison Richmann is president of the Colorado High School Rodeo Association. The Keenesburg, Colorado cowgirl competes in the breakaway roping, barrel […]
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Meet the Member Sadie Wood
story by Lily Weinacht
Sadie Wood of Peyton, Colo., earned her second trip to the NHSFR during the CSHSRA finals in June, a photo of her grandpa tucked inside her shirt as she made the cutting runs that sent the 17 year old to her first reserve state championship.
The photo, a wallet size image of her grandpa Jim Wood cutting, first inspired Sadie to begin competing four years ago. “When my grandpa passed away, I was going through some pictures of his and saw that picture of him cutting,” Sadie explains. “I decided to give it a try! I’d been riding before that, but I’d never done cutting, so I went to a Leon Harrel cutting clinic when I was 13.” She competed on a mare for several years before finding her current mount, a 24-year-old mare she calls Cowboy. “She is just amazing!” says Sadie. “The fact that she’s that old and still pushing hard – and loving it – makes me want to make her happy. She’s definitely one of the older equine athletes out there, and she has the older cutting bloodlines out of Docs Quixote. I also have my dad’s mare, Wheelie, as a backup horse.”
Sadie’s family is closely linked with her success in the arena. “I never saw my grandpa compete, but he’s always been a role model and I want to make him proud, and my dad has helped me so much with taking me to lessons. He used to team rope, but when I started cutting, he started doing it along with me. My family is extremely supportive and takes me wherever I need to go.” Her parents, David and Tiffany Wood, never miss a rodeo, and her older sister, Josie, videos her runs while Tiffany takes photos.
“I really enjoy the thrill of running across the arena and stopping hard, and making those hard turns,” says Sadie. She continues to learn from Leon Harrel, as well as Nicole Pietrafeso, an NCHA competitor from Elbert, Colo. She’s considering adding reined cow horse to her events next season, and possibly goat tying and breakaway roping, which she’s practicing at home. “We have an arena at my house and a herd of cattle, and since I’m done with school for the summer, I have more time to practice,” Sadie says. “I give riding lessons to about seven kids on Sundays, which I’ve been doing for the last year. We have about 36 acres here in Peyton, which is pretty remote, but I’m a small town girl and I love that everyone knows everyone.”
Sadie will be a senior this fall at Peyton High School, where she finds the forensic science course particularly appealing. “We learn how to solve murders and figure out who possible suspects are, which I find extremely interesting. We work on actual case studies that haven’t been solved yet and develop our own opinions about them, and our teacher also creates fictional cases for us to solve.” Though rodeo is Sadie’s sole sport, she managed the boys basketball team last school year and plans to do so again this year. If she’s not astride a horse, she enjoys spending time friends and putting together tailgating parties at the school.
“I’m mostly rodeoing this summer – Nationals is our main trip. I competed there my freshman year, and it was rough but a good experience,” she finishes. “I’m excited to have my first time under my belt so I can go back this summer and know what to expect. I’d really like to make it to Nationals again my senior year, and after I graduate, I’d like to go into criminal justice and become a forensic scientist.”