Courtesy Kyle Jones ARLINGTON, Texas – In front of electrifying crowds inside AT&T Stadium, five women became the first in history to claim the […]
Fifteen-Year-Old Jada Trosper Makes a Name for Herself at Women’s Rodeo World Championship
Courtesy of Jolee Jordan
The teen years are full of firsts. But for fifteen-year old Jada Trosper, the week of November 9-15, 2020—unofficially dubbed Women’s Rodeo Week—was loaded with more firsts than most of her peers might experience in a year.
The bubbly cowgirl rightfully became the darling of the inaugural Women’s Rodeo World Championships (WRWC) after becoming the youngest qualifier in the barrel racing’s Championship Round.
Her enthusiasm is contagious. So is her attitude.
Inside the arena, she proved herself as fierce a competitor as any veteran and outside of it . . . well, her graciousness and poise won the Ponder (Texas) High School sophomore as many fans as her fast barrel racing runs.
“It’s just a dream come true,” said Trosper after participating in the revolutionary event which offered the largest payout in the history of women’s rodeo.
Over the course of a week, the Women’s Rodeo World Championship, which was a collaboration of the World Champions Rodeo Alliance (WCRA) and Professional Bull Riders (PBR), paid out $750,000. More than five hundred female rodeo athletes competing in barrel racing, team roping and breakaway roping attended the event and more than one hundred of those picked up checks.
Trosper was one of those, pocketing more than $11,000 of that purse.
Ironically, the journey to AT&T Stadium, the host venue for the Championship Round, began on a whim.
“Mom and I were laughing . . . . we decided to enter as a joke,” Trosper admitted. Originally scheduled for Las Vegas, COVID restrictions necessitated the move to Texas. Trosper took advantage of the WCRA’s Challenger program, designed to pit those of similar ability against one another in the early qualifying rounds.
“We prefer to stay closer to home but when it moved down here, we thought, ‘why not enter and see how it goes?’”
The Honor Roll student who serves as her Class President stormed the barrel racing field during the WRWC. It all began with qualifying rounds held inside the famed Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth and not with a big bang at all.
“On our first run, we hit the first barrel we’ve ever hit together,” Trosper said. “But what opened my eyes was the time we ran—we would have been second in the round so that was a big confidence booster.”
Her horse, Sun N Sevens, is a seven year old cow-bred horse that has only been in Trosper’s arsenal for six months, coming to the family after Trosper’s other horse suffered a major injury that required a long recuperation time.
The gelding she calls Sev was trained by Shelby West.
“She did an amazing job with him,” Trosper said. “But he’d done everything at jackpots, not rodeos. So everything is fairly new to him but he’s taking everything in like a champ.”
At just 13.3 hands and 900 pounds, Sev’s personality makes up for what he lacks in stature. Trosper notes that he’s a calf horse who is afraid of cattle and likes to nibble on her cowgirl hat. He’s even stolen a hamburger from his jockey when she wasn’t looking.
“He is goofy and has this big personality that made me grow attached to him in a matter of seconds.”
The instant connection is obvious in their competition too. The pair took the Level 2 Youth barrels title at the American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHYA) Finals over the summer, and were the Reserve champions in Level 3.
In Fort Worth, the team had their backs against the wall. Only the fastest 12 times from two rounds would move on in the tournament style event.
Sev delivered big, running the fastest time of the day across all pools of competition.
“I just started crying. It just hit me deep, he really tried and just left everything he had out there.”
That run set up the first of what would be a run of firsts for Trosper, who is a talented athlete without her horses as well, running track and cross country for her school and as a Varsity cheerleader. Following her notice serving run in round two, she was invited on The Cowboy Channel, her first interview and not her last of the week.
“My parents told me to work hard to be able to talk,” Trosper said, who now devotes time in FFA to speaking events. “The problem now is I won’t shut up!”
Competing at a high school rodeo in between runs in Fort Worth, Trosper and Sev kept their composure as the pressure mounted with each round. Another sudden death round run placed them in the Main Event, featuring the final 24 competitors.
“By the time we got to the 24 round, I was just so grateful,” Trosper said. “We really weren’t expecting anything, we entered more for the experience.”
In the Main Event, Sev and Trosper easily made the cut in the first round, running fourth. One more run remained later that same afternoon to decide the top 6 Championship Round qualifiers who would move on to the famed AT&T Stadium.
“It’s been a goal, and a dream, of mine to compete at AT&T. My whole family has watched The American every year. I think it’s every little girl and roper’s dream to compete there.”
Setting up to make the biggest run of her life—at that point—Trosper admitted to feeling the nerves when her parents, Melinda and Jason, let her know how close she was to that goal.
“The nerves really kicked in but I was excited.”
Saying a little prayer and trusting her equine partner, Trosper sent Sev down the alley one more time.
“All I could hear was my mom screaming,” she laughed. When her name appeared third on the leaderboard on a television at the back of the alley, she realized she’d made the Championship Round.
“When we got home that night, our friends had decorated our gate and barn. The whole community was really celebrating along with us.”
Two sleepless nights separated Trosper’s final qualifying run from the Championship Round held on Saturday, November 14. Her week of firsts continued before she even competed on the final night— she picked up her first sponsorship, signing with the Eastern Westerner in the parking lot of AT&T.
Inside AT&T, the relatively inexperienced Sev continued to impress.
“He handled things behind the scenes, the alley, better than I ever thought. He was so quiet and calm. It made me proud as an owner because my nerves were through the roof and I know he could feel that.”
As the time approached for the final run, where Trosper was stacked against a field of seasoned professionals with multiple Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifications and millions of dollars of earnings, the youngster said another prayer for a safe run.
“Those are emotions that I will never forget,” she said, admitting, “I wanted to throw up!”
Though the run wasn’t as good as she’d hoped, Trosper finished fourth, winning $10,000, her first big paycheck.
The finish was a bit rough too. As the run came to completion, Trosper experienced another first—Sev lost sight of the alleyway at first, then made a big move back, unseating the talented jockey.
“It was my first time to fall off, why not do it on the biggest stage?” laughed Trosper, who actually ended up under her horse. Sev stepped on her hand and though they thought it was broken at the time (just badly bruised), it didn’t dampen the celebration.
“I really didn’t care that I fell off, I’d fall off again if I could do that again!”
Mostly, she was proud of her horse.
“Bless his heart, he made like eight runs in seven days or something,” she said. “He was exhausted but didn’t show it.”
Sev will now get a well earned break. But Trosper’s goals grew with each run at the WRWC as Sev proved he could compete with the toughest horses in the sport.
“I’m so proud of my horse, he stepped up and showed himself,” Trosper said. “I’m just blown away about everything that’s happened.”
As a relatively newcomer to the sport, Trosper may not be aware of the huge historical implications of the WRWC but she enjoyed the camaraderie of the women’s only event.
“The ladies were all so nice, even during the qualifying rounds. These are women I’ve always looked up to and they were so sweet.”
“It was an awesome, incredible experience and I’m so thankful to have been a part of it.”
WCRA and PBR have already announced the 2021 Women’s Rodeo World Championship will take place in Las Vegas at South Point Arena alongside the PBR World Finals. WCRA nominations for the historic women’s event is open until October 3.
WCRA also announced that athletes from around the globe can nominate their rides and runs for a chance to earn a spot at $545,000 Rodeo Corpus Christi. Youth athletes age 13-18 will also have an opportunity to compete in the Rodeo Corpus Christi along with a $12,000 youth incentive.
For more information on WCRA and how to earn points, athletes can visit wcrarodeo.com.