story by Lindsay Humphrey “When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a cowboy and now that I’m old enough that’s exactly what […]
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Meet the Member Sadie Mendenhall
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Going into the short go at high school nationals, Sadie Mendenhall found herself in a three-way tie. It was her third trip to nationals in as many years all in the cutting. “In the first round we didn’t have the best cows, but I made it work,” said the 17-year-old from Edmond, Oklahoma. “I was disappointed with my score in the first round, but I came back and won the second.” It all came down to the short round where Sadie gave it her all. “I had a solid run, but someone had a better one. That’s the best I’ve ever done at nationals. It was a big accomplishment, and we were all happy with it.” By a mere half point, Sadie became the reserve national champion in girls cutting.
“At the end of the day, it’s all in God’s hands and He’s going to put me where He needs me to be. And I knew second place was where He wanted me to be.” Doing her best with the variables she can control keeps Sadie moving forward no matter the outcome. Even though this will only be her fourth year cutting, it’s a family tradition. “My dad (Jacob) grew up cutting in high school rodeo because his dad trained cutters, so he did a little of both, kind of like me now.” Sadie’s mom, Leslie, also rodeoed growing up but didn’t cut until later in life. “I really like cutting because my parents can help me out with it, and it’s become a family sport over the years.”
All three of Sadie’s older brothers – Buster, 24, Rueben, 22, and Cooper, 19 – also cut at one point in their riding career. Their success in the event ultimately prompted Sadie to enter the in the OHSRA for the first time three years ago. Now a senior at Deer Creek High School, she’s also an avid competitor in barrels and poles. “I remember when I was younger and in some of the other junior rodeo associations, looking up to the older girls who were super good at their events. I knew I wanted to be like them. I think the OHSRA has helped me grow in my events because it’s pushed me to my limits.” More than just the stiff competition of the OHSRA, Sadie’s reached new heights thanks to her barrel mount, Jetta.
Together for only the last year, it’s taken a lot of sweaty saddle pads to get this duo in synch. “She’s completely different from my last horse; she’s a lot faster and she has a huge personality. It was difficult to get her to listen to me and vice versa.” The two finally bridged that communication gap during the BBR World Finals this year. It was the first time Sadie ran the clover leaf pattern on Jetta without any major mistakes. “That’s when it finally felt like things clicked for us.” Sadie and Jetta carried that momentum with them into state finals where they were sitting tenth in the barrels. She took second place in both the first and second rounds to move up to eighth place. While it was still a few placings away from making nationals, it showed a huge amount of progress in the team.
As Sadie thinks about her senior season, she’s especially focused on improving her pole runs. It was an event she struggled with last year and plans to give her fierce competitors some fast times to beat this season. Outside of continuing to ride and practice hard, Sadie spends a significant amount of time working towards a future career in the medical field. “I’m taking some classes at Francis Tuttle Technology Center right now because I’m thinking about becoming a nurse. My dad’s a doctor and a lot of my cousins are in that field also. I think it would be fun to do something different every day while also helping people.” As Sadie contemplates what school to attend next fall, she’s likely to follow in the footsteps her brothers walked before her, first in rodeo and now to Utah.