story by Lindsay Humphrey “I was born carrying a rope.” It’s a bold statement from 14-year-old Gunnar Tipton who’s been roping calves and heels competitively […]
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Meet the Member Jordyn Wamel
story by Lindsay King
Blazing through the poles at a blistering 21.3 seconds is Jordyn Wamel in her favorite rodeo event. The seventh grade NMJHSRA competitor from Las Cruces, New Mexico, also runs barrels, ties goats and snatches ribbons. As soon as Jordyn starts weaving through the poles, she is at home. “I get kind of nervous barreling down the arena because I am worried about hitting a pole. As soon as I make the first turn I feel great though,” said the 12-year-old. She is disappointed that her pole career will end after high school, but is looking forward to competing in college rodeo one day like her 18-year-old sister Jayde.
“My sister runs barrels in college. She used to help me practice a lot before she started college last fall. We used to spend a lot of time together, but she is really busy with school now. My parents (Susan and Van) give me a lot of tips when I practice though.” It wasn’t until Jayde got into high school rodeo that the Wamel family found out about junior high rodeo. Jordyn is the first in her family to compete in the NMJHSRA. Previously, they competed almost exclusively in 4-H. It’s how they got their start in rodeo essentially. “I am considered a novice in 4-H rodeo, so I get to do an extra event: flags. Basically, there is a barrel in the middle of the arena with a flag on it that I have to grab.” Since the junior high season doesn’t start until the spring, Jordyn keeps her skills sharp by going to as many 4-H rodeos as she can in the summer and fall. Last year, Jordyn won the all-around title at the Las Cruces 4-H rodeo.
To keep her horses in shape, Jordyn long trots them on the sand dunes near her house. The conditioning paid off when Jordyn took fourth in the poles in the year-end standing, sending her to nationals. Her goal was to make it in the barrels, but fell short this year. Jordyn really enjoys the team aspect of ribbon roping with her partner, Grayden Johnson. “I am not so good at the roping, so I am the runner. I am actually pretty fast. I like getting to work together with someone.” This is Jordyn’s first year competing in the event. Both Jordyn and her horse Forest are fast runners and rightfully so. “Forest is the only horse I have to compete on, so I am still working with him on some of the events. I named him Forest after the movie Forest Gump because he is pretty fast.”
Jordyn competes in 4-H rodeo and exhibits various animals through her 4-H club called The Hillbillys. “I am showing dairy cattle this year for the first time, but I showed goats last year. I am also taking chickens and turkeys to the fair this summer.” If Jordyn wasn’t busy enough, she is going to play volleyball at Zia Middle School next fall for the first time. “I have played before, but I just ended up practicing with the team during school hours this year. I think it is fun and challenging. I am looking forward to hanging out with my friends that are also in it.”
As Jordyn fulfills her goal of competing at junior high nationals, she is also looking forward to one day competing at the college finals. While Jordyn is in college rodeo, she wants to work towards a nursing degree. “It is interesting to me to learn about all that your body can do.” The idea to become a nurse came from a friend of Jayde’s who is currently working towards that career. The love and support Jordyn receives from her sister, parents and grandparents keeps her working hard towards these lofty goals each and every day.