ProFile: Jayde Atkins

by Lily Landreth

“My mom (Sonya) was the typical horse crazy girl who grew up on a hobby farm in Missouri. My dad (JB), who grew up farming and raising cattle and hogs, learned to rope after they were married. They ended up in the horse world training and showing reiners and reined cow horses,” said Jayde Atkins.
Jayde is still rolling with interviews pertaining from her current achievements: Champion All Around Cowgirl at the National High School Finals and Champion Reined Cow Horse as well. At the Nebraska State level, she won the pole bending, the reined cow horse, and all around, second in cutting, third in barrels, knocking a barrel to potentially win it.
“Nationals was pretty awesome,” she said. “I won the reined cow horse and the All Around, competing in barrels, poles, cutting, and the cow horse.” Her family trains reined cow horses and rope horses. “We’ve used similar bloodlines for cow horse and roping, since we are in the rodeo world. My reined cow horse is also my number one breakaway horse and is a proven tie down horse. And now I’ve got two futurity barrel horses as well to take down the road.” Her dad has a regular job as a territory manager for Vermeer Manufacturing. Her mom is a nutritionist at Backbone of Healthcare in Broken Bow.
She worked hard this year to get better at her events. “Last year I really wasn’t confident in myself or my horses and I wanted to do really good but tried to force a lot of things too much. Last year she ended up second in reined cow horse and third in the all around at NHSFR. “I went to several different trainers last year and this year for help, but this year I determined to be more focused. I was more confident in myself and sought out just a few skills I needed to work on.” In Nebraska, she competed in everything – including goat tying, team roping, breakaway, and even tied her first calf down the week before Nationals.
Jayde started riding early. “I can never remember a time I wasn’t riding. Some of my earliest memories are from when my parents were showing, and I helped them cool down horses.” She did some of the junior rodeos when she was younger. Her older brother, Sterling, got into high school rodeo when she was in sixth grade. “I didn’t really get to rodeo much until my freshman year.” Sterling won the Nebraska State High School Cutting title and his shoes were hard to fill. He passed away his freshman year in college from basically a heart attack that happens to athletes. “They didn’t know at first why he had a heart attack. And for pretty much a year we did tests to make sure I didn’t have it – you go from everything being good to everything awful. I was running cross country and track and I wasn’t allowed to do anything until results came back. I rodeoed to keep us sane,” she recalls. “I was riding his cutting horse and his tie down horse, Harry, who ended up winning the reined cow horse with me.”
When the National High School officially introduced the reined cow horse her junior year, Jayde had already done the demonstration at Nationals her sophomore year. “I’ve been involved in the implementation of the event in Nebraska,” she said. “It’s a show horse event and we’ve been involved in the AQHA for years. I haven’t shown there for years, because high school rodeo took precedent over that.”
Jayde is heading to Chadron State College – about four hours from home – this fall. “It’s the same college that Sterling went to and I know a ton of people from Broken Bow that have gone there and loved it.” She is not going to rodeo the first year, although she’s taking some futurity horses with her. She is going to major in Ag Business and plans to concentrate more on the economic and financial end of it.
After college, her dream is “Marry a rich rancher from the Sand Hills that will let me rodeo for the rest of my life … and if that doesn’t work out, I will live where I can give back to the ag community – I am a huge believer in FFA, and I want to keep the way of life that I’ve lived going. Horses are what we’ve always done, it’s our life.”

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