story by Kristen Sublette Jenna Fulton, is a 17-year-old cowgirl from Miller, South Dakota and a member of the South Dakota High School Rodeo Association. […]
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Meet the Member Jayda Tibbs
story by Lily Weinacht
Jayda Tibbs of Fort Pierre, South Dakota, is entering her fourth year of rodeo in the SDHSRA. The 17-year-old, who is the great-great niece of rodeo legend Casey Tibbs, competes in pole bending, barrel racing, goat tying, breakaway roping, and team roping as a heeler. “I can’t wait to rodeo during the summer. It’s my favorite thing, and I can take time to practice during the winter and improve myself—that makes me want to rodeo too,” says Jayda.
She’s the treasurer of the Fort Pierre High School Rodeo Club, which meets once a month and raises money throughout the year to help club members with their rodeo expenses. “They (the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center) do a Casey Tibbs tribute supper that our rodeo club usually serves at, and then they let our club use their center for spaghetti feeds and fundraisers,” Jayda explains. The high school rodeo in Fort Pierre—her hometown—is a favorite, and sportsmanship all season long is important to her. “I’ve learned that you might not always make short go, but to support your friends if they do make it, and they’ll support you back when you go to short go.”
She also competes in 4-H rodeos and barrel races in the SDRA, and won the junior breakaway saddle in 4-H in 2016. The SDHSRA Fall Extravaganza and 20 X Extreme keep her going through part of the winter, and she rides after school to keep her horses in shape, or rides in the evenings during the summer. “I take a break for the winter and turn my rodeo horses out, and then I work on my younger horses to get them ready.” Jayda often has three horses in tow for her rodeos, all of them gray. “The mare is shorter than the two geldings, but those two look identical. They were ranch-raised and my sister, Bailey, and I trained them.” Jayda rides Cruiser in barrels, as well as breakaway roping and pole bending when needed, and does her goat tying and team roping off of Wild Child. Duchess is her main pole bending horse. “I have a bay horse named Comanche, and I’m working with him to start roping off of, so I’ll be working with him this winter.”
Jayda and Bailey (23) enjoy riding and practicing together, and their mom, Kelly Tibbs, also joins them in the arena and competes in the occasional barrel racing jackpot. Jayda’s dad, Darren Tibbs, also travels with them to rodeos. “Bailey has taught me a lot, and my mom and dad have helped me get better and improve myself,” says Jayda, who rides at her family’s arena, or goes to friends’ arenas to practice as well. The sisters team rope together when Jayda wants to work on heeling, but her team roping partner since her freshman year, Josi Stevens, recently moved close enough that they can start roping together between rodeos.
When she’s not at the barn, Jayda can be found finishing her senior year at Stanley County High School. “My favorite class is probably my medical terminology. I enjoy learning the terms because it would be helpful if there was a wreck in the arena and I would know what might be broken,” she explains. Playing basketball on her school’s team keeps her busy through the winter, while Jayda hopes to college rodeo and pursue a degree in equine sports medicine or equine business next year. She’s interested in attending college in Wyoming or Texas, but she’s soaking up her days at home, spending time with family and friends and going hunting.
“I haven’t made it to Nationals, and that’s something I’m working towards this year,” Jayda finishes. “I’d like to win a high school saddle for rodeo.”