story by Michele Toberer Dale Davies has been blessed to live a life centered around horses and rodeo. Growing up in Fort Collins, Colorado as […]
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Meet the Member Carrie Jankee
story by Lily Weinacht
Carrie Jankee has been barrel racing since she was knee-high, chasing cans at gymkhanas, 4H rodeos, and NBHA events. But it wasn’t until 2012 that the 33-year-old from Phoenix, Ariz., entered her first rodeo. She and AQHA stallion, Tinys Watch Rocks, or “Vegas”, had won multiple 4D barrel races. “We were winning by two tenths and four tenths,” says Carrie. “My friends were pushing me to get my permit and enter a rodeo, but I never thought Vegas could handle rodeo ground. In 2012, my friend, Shawn Schuck, bought a WPRA permit for me and said, ‘You’re doing this!’ I filled my permit in two weeks, bought my card, and ranked 22 in the world rookie standings!” That same year, Carrie joined the GCPRA and won several of their rodeos, posting the fastest time at one of them. The stage was set, and Carrie was hooked.
“What motivates me to rodeo is the prestige of the sport, versus an open jackpot. It’s the best of the best that you’re competing against!” says Carrie. Her mom, Kelli Heidt, has further inspired her in rodeo. “My mom has barrel raced since she was young, and she does animal body work on horses. She travels all over the U.S. and sets up at horse shows with her Animal Krackers Body Balancing Equine Therapy. How cool is that!” Carrie also works in her mom’s body balancing business, setting up at shows that her mom can’t go to, and working as an equine therapist in her area. “My step-dad is actually the one who learned the trade, and then he passed it down to my mom and I,” Carrie explains. “I’m fortunate to know the trade – it’s kept my horses going.”
Carrie and her two children, Analicia (16), and Trenton (7), live on their Gamblin J Ranch near Phoenix. Carrie grew up on her dad’s hay farm in Buckeye, Ariz. and says, “I don’t know that I’d want to live anywhere else. It’s hotter than hot, but it’s beautiful!” Gamblin J Ranch stands several studs, including Carrie’s Vegas, and another palomino named Mitey Frenchman, or “Seven”. “Seven is just starting his career. He’s six years old and I’ve been training him for two months,” says Carrie excitedly. “I train all my barrel horses. My backup horse is Sparky Goldseeker – we call him Dash. He’s a 13-year-old dun gelding and he’s doing amazing!”
If she’s not riding and training her own horses, Carrie is teaching riding lessons, starting colts, training for the public, or travelling to local farms for her equine body balancing. She and her kids and her boyfriend, Bryan, also enjoy getting away for the weekend. “We go to Mexico and stay in Rocky Point, or we’ll go to Munds Park (Arizona) in the summer with our off-road vehicles and motorcycles.” Between rodeoing with the GCPRA and the WPRA Turquoise Circuit, Carrie fills the remainder of her time with her kids, watching Analicia’s choir, dancing, and high school wrestling, while Trenton enjoys cowboying and anything that involves trains.
Carrie’s goals for this rodeo season include qualifying for the WPRA Turquoise Circuit finals a second time, making it to the GCPRA finals, and seeing what new opportunities arise for her and her horses. “I want to thank my mom. She’s a single mom who somehow kept me on horseback, which is definitely my passion. Thanks also to my boyfriend, Bryan, who is super supportive, and my kids, because they’re my world!” Carrie concludes, “Thanks to my sponsors, Louis Nunez and Jeff Swenson with F1, Animal Krackers, Jarrett and Michelle Lemley with JMI Concrete, and a huge thank you to Shawn Schuck. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here today!”