story by Ruth Nicolaus t took a letter, written by Caiden Milam to his parents, to convince them to let their son ride bulls. It […]
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Meet the Member Jack Skavdahl
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Jack Skavdahl was a busy man on graduation weekend.
On Saturday, April 27, the day he graduated from Sioux County High School in Harrison, Neb., the Nebraska State High School Rodeo Association member competed at the high school rodeo in Hyannis. Then he hurried home in time for his own graduation, at 4 pm, and the party, following. Then, on Sunday, he headed back south to Arthur, for another high school rodeo.
Jack, who is a team roper (heeling for Chance Symons) and a saddle bronc rider, has been competing since his sophomore year. Of his two events, saddle bronc riding is his strength. He comes from a long line of rodeo cowboys; his dad, Jud, rode broncs, as did his granddad, Bill Skavdahl. In fact, his granddad qualified for the National High School Finals in 1960, when he split third place in the bull riding. Bill also qualified three years later.
In the senior class at Sioux County High, Jack is the only boy among the six students, and one of his classmates is his cousin. The best part of high school has been the memories and friends, and his favorite subject has been ag. This year, his FFA team was district champions in the senior livestock judging.
Because there are only six kids in the senior class (and 32 in the entire high school), the graduating seniors hold their party together, because the same people are usually invited to everyone’s party.
His favorite teacher ever was Mrs. Sharon Lambert, his sixth through eighth grade teacher, when he attended a two-room country school. Mrs. Lambert was a good friend, and she readied him for high school, not only academically but socially, as the country school kids had the disadvantage of being new to “town school.” More than any other teacher, she really believed in him. She took the time to care about him, work with him, and encourage him.
In high school, Jack played football and basketball, was a member of FFA (and served as president his senior year), did one-act plays, and was on the speech team. He also participated in track for one season.
The students at Sioux County High School got out of school in early April, because most of them are ranch kids, and they are needed to help with ranch work during the busy spring season. Jack helps in all areas on the Skavdahl Ranch: fixing fence, feeding, haying, and calving. This winter, he did much of the night calving for the heifers, checking at 10 pm, midnight, and 2 am, before his dad took over the other shifts. It was a harsh calving season; the nighttime temps were often below zero, with a wind chill.
For fun, Jack and his friends “cruise” the country roads, and hunt. They love to hunt nearly anything, and make sure to keep the coyote population down.
His favorite meal is roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy, made by grandma Jackie Delatour or his mom. Grandma also makes excellent sugar cookies, and she and his mom make homemade peach jelly and raspberry jelly that he loves to put on peanut butter sandwiches. Jack’s favorite beverage is unsweet iced tea, and if he could choose any food from any buffet line, he’d choose Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza.
This fall, Jack will attend college on a rodeo scholarship and compete in both of his events. Last winter, he devised a cash flow plan for a loan from the bank, so he could purchase forty heifers, to go along with his 25 head of cows. He calved them out and will sell the calves in the fall, to help fund his college education.
He has competed at state finals in Hastings his sophomore and junior years, in the saddle bronc riding and last year, made the National High School Finals in the saddle bronc and trap shooting, which he has done since junior high.
Jack has a younger sister, Julie, who is sixteen, and two younger brothers: Jadon, who is thirteen, and Jhett, age eleven. He is surrounded by family: two aunts and uncles, four cousins, and both sets of grandparents, all who live within five miles. He’s very close to both of his uncles and has spent a lot of time with them.
He is the son of Jud and Jennifer Skavdahl.