story by Lindsay Humphrey The race for Vegas is stiff, no matter the age or experience of the competitor. Just like the pros in the […]
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Meet the Member Brianna Sharp
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Just a few weeks after purchasing now 12-year-old Jagger in 2019, Brianna Sharp and the gelding laid down a 21-second pole run at a KK Run for Vegas qualifying event. “It was pretty nerve wracking for me to do so well with him right off the bat,” said the 15-year-old. “At the Junior World Finals in Vegas, we came back to the short round in fourth place. We ran in Texas last year and hit a pole in the short round and lost out on second place.” Brianna waisted no time in 2021 making sure she had another shot at the world title when she won her qualifying event on New Years Day in Lincoln, California. This will be her third appearance with Jagger in the senior poles at the Vegas event.
“Jagger gives me 110% and always makes the same run every time. He really knows his job and loves it.” Originally a barrel horse hot off a college career, Jagger has earned his stripes in the bob-and-weave event. Since Jagger openly enjoys pole bending, it makes it easy for Brianna to enjoy herself on each trip. She competes in both the barrels and poles on Jagger in district five of the California High School Rodeo Association. This follows closely in her father’s footsteps who grew up competing in district four. “My dad (Brian) and the rest of his family grew up in rodeo. His uncle (Jack Roddy) was a world champion steer wrestler. Brianna’s mom, Debbie, got her first horse when she was 13 but wasn’t fully immersed into rodeo until meeting Brian at California Polytechnic University.
Brianna’s oldest sister, 18-year-old Megan, was the first to get the family involved with rodeo when she started in eighth grade. “I followed my older sister into rodeo because she dipped her toes in and started getting it figured out. My older brother (Austin, 21) likes to team rope, but my twin (Brandon) and younger sister (Maya, 14) don’t do anything in rodeo. That’s no matter since Megan keeps the family busy as she’s a freshman at Cal Poly on the rodeo team and Brianna competes in barrels, poles, cutting, breakaway, team roping, and goat tying in high school rodeo.
First attending nationals in the eighth grade, Brianna is looking forward to her third straight qualification. Last year she finished as the reserve all around champion in her district before laying down a 19.6 in the poles short round at nationals. “I felt on top of the world with that run. I finished third overall.” She won the all-around, cutting, barrels and pole titles for her district and is now preparing for state finals. “I never would’ve imagined winning the all-around as a sophomore. It’s a huge confidence booster for me.” Brianna attributes some of her success in her first two years of high school rodeo to the effects of COVID. “I used to play volleyball but after COVID shut all the sports down, I really focused on rodeo and realized that’s what I want to do with the rest of my life.”
Of course, her national-level success doesn’t keep Brianna from remembering her humble beginnings as a horsewoman. “My first horse was named Elliot and I showed him, but my barrel horse was my grandpa’s team roping horse. At the local barrel jackpot, we would have so much fun together. I would just point, and kick and he’d do his job.” That gray gelding called Blue is 26 now and thoroughly enjoying retirement. As the year progresses, Brianna is continuing to check off her goals. The first was winning the KKP qualifier, and now she’s focused on punching her ticket to high school nationals. Brianna is also looking forward to qualifying for some other Vegas events, including the Junior American and World’s Toughest.