story by Julie Carter Cowboying at the ranch comes natural for Trip Saulsberry, but the arena part of the job didn’t start until he was […]
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Meet the Member Jorgia Nixon
story by Lindsay King
Jorgia Nixon might be riding hand-me-down horses, but she’s more than just a passenger. As a six-event rodeo competitor, it takes a lot of skill to constantly switch horses. “I was born on a ranch, so I have ridden for most of my life,” said the 12-year-old. Forever referring to the past nine years. At six years old Jorgia began her rodeo career in the barrels and poles at play days and junior rodeos. It was just the natural progression for her. Both of her older sisters – Jaiden, 21, and Mattie, 18 – competed before her. And Jorgia’s little brother, Myles, 11, is taking his sisters’ lead. “My sister (Mattie) helps me practice in the barrels and poles, but both of my sisters have made some of my horses. Miles ropes with me a lot, he likes to do that.”
Though Jorgia has great role models and practice partners in her siblings, her parents are the real heroes behind the athlete. “My mom (Jamie) is really good at helping me get ready. She helps me saddle my horses and is really great support for all of us.” Mikael, Jorgia’s dad, is the man behind the loop and the mounts. “In the practice pen my dad coaches me a lot and he’s made a lot of my horses. too” Jorgia has ridden Maynard, a bay gelding, for the last nine years in the barrels and poles. He’s easily her favorite mount simply because she’s ridden him the longest. The pair is bound and determined to make a run for nationals after getting a taste of it last year.
“Nationals was a really cool experience, I had a blast. Though I didn’t do very well, it was a lot of fun. I was really nervous for my runs.” Jorgia made it to nationals with her partner, Kyan Wilhite, in the ribbon roping. The team won the event at state finals. Jorgia managed to nab the rookie of the year title for the NMJHSRA. In the High Plains Junior Rodeo Association Jorgia won both the goats and breakaway, her two favorite events. “These two events are the most fun for me and I think I am the best at them. I really like the horse I rope on and I also think it’s fun to get off in the goats.” Jorgia finds pole bending to be the most challenging event for her. The bobbing and weaving only leaves a sliver of room for error and sometimes it gets the best of Jorgia. She’s been putting in the work with Maynard and they make strides of progress every day.
In the fifth grade Jorgia experienced her first slump. It was a trying time of downed barrels, missed loops and slow ties. “I started working harder and went to a lot of clinics. Rodeo has taught me to be humble, find my focus and work hard.” Although Jorgia doesn’t practice every single event every day, she’s out on the range putting her rodeo skills to good use. The daughter of a rancher, Jorgia and her horses are expected to help move cattle, doctor and brand. “I like being outside and having a lot of animals. That’s why I like living on a ranch.”
Jorgia and her siblings have been homeschooled since day one. That’s a direct reflection of their desire to ranch and rodeo. “I like being home and can be with my family. I usually get done around lunch and then I go out and tie goats so that when my dad gets home we can rope.” Because of Jorgia’s love for animals, she aspires to become a veterinarian one day. With her strong passion for family, Jorgia enjoys the fact that rodeo is so focused on it. “The NMJHSRA is a really fun place to compete. We know a majority of the people in it. My friends are all really supportive and fun to hang out with after we rodeo.”