Jessalyn Gingrich is no stranger to leaping off a running horse, tying goats or even competing nationally in rodeo. However, she isn’t quite as used to being featured on the cover of her sport’s international publication.
Gingrich of Courtland Township is a repeat selection to the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) All Star team. This highly prestigious accomplishment requires being in the top four in all of the rodeo categories in which she competes. She was also surprised that the association chose her picture for the front cover of the magazine, which is distributed in every state in the United States and also in several other countries.
Born in November and riding by the following spring, Gingrich is a life-long horse lover and also a practiced rodeo competitor.
On her horse Jax, and more recently Booker—the seventh-ranked rodeo horse in the state of Michigan—the Grand Rapids Christian School sophomore is pretty excited about this season’s accomplishments.
“I wondered how he had a picture of me at nationals,” Gingrich said of the rodeo friend who first told her she was on the cover.
Gingrich’s mother, Julie, said she is very proud of her daughter’s achievement. Rodeo is not only very competitive and requires year-round practice, it is also known for values of sportsmanship and teamwork.
“This is one of the few sports where they actually help their competitors,” Julie stated. Her daughter, for example, borrows a roping horse and gear from another competitor for her roping events. The practice is common in the sport, and Jessalyn in turn loans out her horses during national competition.
The NHSRA said Jessalyn was selected to the All Star team “based on leadership qualities, academic eligibility and athletic achievements.”
Two years ago Jessalyn also earned All Star team status. “I didn’t make the All Star team last year:I had a rough go,” she said of her national competition scores.
The next nearby event held by the NHSRA is an expo in March at Michigan State University. It is one of the largest Michigan events. “We invited Canada to come rodeo with us,” Jessalyn said. To find out more, visit the association’s website at www.mihsra.com.