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: Jaydn Hollenbeck
story by Ruth Nicolaus
When the Hollenbeck family gets together for holidays, they gather in the arena. When Jaydn Hollenbeck, a member of the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association, and her parents and sister went to visit her dad’s brother and his family in Kansas for Thanksgiving, as soon as the pickup was unpacked, they made a beeline to saddle horses and head to the arena. They didn’t skip lunch, however.
The Valentine, Neb. cowgirl comes from a long line of ropers. Her dad and his brother, Jay and Shawn, roped, her grandpa Glen Hollenbeck roped, and so do many of her other family members. “I have great teachers,” she said.
She competes in the breakaway roping, barrel racing, pole bending, and goat tying, and is a senior at Valentine High School. These last few months of school have been bittersweet. “It’s going so fast,” she said. “It’s the last of everything, so these memories I’ll remember.” Her high school is a small one, and all the students are friends. Jaydn played volleyball last year and basketball this year, and her favorite teacher was Coach Becky Thorburg, her junior varsity basketball coach last year. She relied on Coach for help with her statistics class this year, and loves her laid-back attitude and how she loves what she does.
For fun, Jaydn and her friends like to tube the Niobrara River, wade in Merritt Dam, or enjoy the sand at Borman Bridge. They often have bonfires at someone’s house, and somebody brings the chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers. In the winter, they play car tag on Valentine’s main street.
This fall, Jaydn will attend college but she’s not sure where. She’s considering schools in South Dakota and Wyoming, and knows she wants to rodeo in college.
Her grandpa’s branding is May 6, the day before her graduation, and because the school has had so many snow days this year, they’ll have to make them up. Seniors were supposed to not have to go to school on the sixth, but they may have to. She’s thinking of skipping that day so she can rope and vaccinate at branding. “I think my grandpa would appreciate it if I called in sick,” she joked.
Jaydn has qualified for state finals the past three years, and went to Nationals her sophomore year in the breakaway.
She has a younger sister, Aluxyn, who is fourteen and competes in junior high rodeo. She is the daughter of Jay and Jody Hollenbeck.