story by Lindsay King If Andee Jo Haden has anything to be proud of, it’s the barrel horse she’s made out of her gelding Superman. […]
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Meet the Member Jaylie Matthews
story by Lindsay King
Just three short years ago, 18-year-old Jaylie Matthews was mostly running at barrel jackpots and the occasional rodeo or two. After watching her 16-year-old sister Taycie run at the IFR in 2017, Jaylie realized she was missing out on something special. “My sister was determined to make the IFR. She did that and won rookie of the year. My mom and sister talked about how much fun it was so I decided I wanted to try and qualify too,” said the Wynne, Arkansas, barrel racer. Jaylie, Taycie and their mom Kim made the IFR together in 2018. “Last year my sister won the world, my mom was third and I placed sixth.” Not only was it a proud moment for Jaylie, it was something her mom had set as a goal for herself and the girls for the year. “I remember the grand entry at the IFR the most. We all rode by each and it was just a family thing.”
Horses have always been a part of Jaylie’s life, thanks to her grandparents – Jimmy and Betty Leek. They originally lived in Missouri and kept ponies for their granddaughters when they were little. Eventually they moved down to Arkansas and the horse craze really started. “My mom grew up with horses but she got away from it for a few years. My grandparents moving down here was just another reason for her to get back into it.” Jimmy actually trained barrel horses his entire life. “My pawpaw is my role model in every way. He always wants the best for us. He can easily match the horse with our skill level and always knows just what we need.”
Chasing white lines on the rodeo trail is a year-long venture for the Matthews women. Jaylie is a recent high school graduate of Zion Academy of America, an online homeschool program. A homegrown education will continue as Jaylie takes online classes at East Mississippi Community College while competing on the rodeo team. “I am just going to take the basic classes for now and then I will figure out what I want to do after that. I am thinking about being a chiropractor.” Her goals in life are simply to be happy, successful and to never take anything for granted.
If transitioning to the rodeo arena wasn’t enough pressure, competing with and against her mom and sister added a whole new dimension. “The three of us are very competitive, but I really like that we get to do it together.” Sometimes Jaylie finds herself swapping between mounts with her mom and sister. “My mom always makes sure we are mounted well. In 2017, my mom had the finals made by mid-summer, so she let my sister use her good mare (Feelinthefirewater) so she could move up in the standings.” Jaylie is now running that mare full time. “My mom wanted to run her this year, but she always puts us before herself.”
Living just a few hours from the Oklahoma border made adding the ACRA to their long list of rodeos a no brainer. Right now Jaylie is leading the rookie race in the ACRA and holding her position in the top five standings. She is also leading the world standings in the IPRA, closely followed by her mom and sister. “My goal is to win the world, but whatever happens, happens. Anything can change at a moment’s notice.” Jaylie is just thankful for the support of her family, including her dad Terris Matthews who holds down the farm while the girls are on the road.