story by Siri Stevens Wesley Lammers is the National Junior High School Rodeo Association president. “I ran for president last year in Des Moines Iowa, […]
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Meet the Member Jaycee Yonkers
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Jaycee Yonkers rides a very special horse.
Charlotte, her barrel racing horse, was purchased by Jaycee’s mom, Nicole, as a three-year-old. The bay mare was small and didn’t show much potential.
But Nicole trained her, and Charlotte has done very well for both her and Jaycee.
The Colorado Junior High School Rodeo Association member also competes in the ribbon roping (running for Cactus Barnes), the goat tying and the pole bending.
She just completed her eighth grade year of schooling online, doing it via computer so she’d have more time to practice her rodeo and travel. It wasn’t easy going online, but she got used to it and enjoyed having the extra time in the arena. Most of her work was done individually, but Jaycee was able to Zoom with her teachers at Peyton School if there were problems she didn’t understand.
History is her favorite subject; she loves learning about the wars fought by Americans. Jaycee has played basketball since the third grade and plays in a competitive basketball league. In seventh grade, she ran track.
The best food her mom makes is spaghetti. She loves raspberries (favorite fruit) and carrots (favorite vegetable), chocolate ice cream for dessert, and likes to wash it all down with a Dr. Pepper. Her favorite candy is Reese’s.
She loves listening to all types of music, but especially country. Her favorite country artist is Luke Combs.
The best time she’s had on a trip was going to Arizona in December of last year, where she spent time with the Fischer family, running barrels and roping.
Jaycee was bucked off at an event in Utah in May. She landed on her hip and because of that, hasn’t been able to do the poles and goats.
Jaycee and Nicole’s horse Charlotte was sold to Mackinzee Dermody and the Fischers, with the agreement that Jaycee got to ride her through the rest of the junior high rodeo season. Jaycee is grateful to the Fischers for allowing her to ride their horses for the poles and goat tying.
It was hard to sell the special mare, Jaycee said. “We’ve owned her since she was a baby. She means the world to me. She always works her heart out, no matter what. We’ve been through a lot of stuff together.”
Nicole concurred. “Nobody thought that horse would be anything,” she said. “She’s set arena records and has won numerous buckles for both Jaycee and me. She’s a horse with a lot of heart.”
Nicole has taught her daughter that it doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle you’re driving; what matters is your horsepower.
Being a single mom, Nicole has worked hard so that her daughter can rodeo. She might be pulling a bumper pull trailer, but that doesn’t matter. “I’ve always told Jaycee, it doesn’t matter how you get there. It’s what you unload from your trailer.”
She’s looking forward to being a high school freshman. She’s been encouraged to play basketball and hopes to be on the varsity team. The high school coach has commented that he can tell she’s a rodeo kid because she’s “gutsy and hard working,” Nicole said.
Nicole enjoys Jaycee’s determination. “She’s very driven, hard-working and determined. She’s out there, every single morning, feeding horses and exercising. She’s an amazing athlete.”
Nicole’s dad, Kerry “Crazy Legs” Garcia, was a saddle bronc rider, bull rider and bullfighter and Jaycee thinks of him as she’s competing.
When she grows up, she’d like to be an equine massage therapist. She loves horses, “because they’re such good animals for us. They give their all to us, so I want to give them what they deserve.”
Jaycee won the barrel racing in the Colorado Junior Rodeo Association on Charlotte when she was eight years old. She also competes in the Little Britches Rodeo Association and at open rodeos. She just completed the Colorado Junior High Finals Rodeo, finishing in a tie for fifth place in the barrels.
She has an older sister, Shaylea, who is nineteen years old, and is also a rodeo contestant and horse trainer.