Photo provided by Jamie Fontes
Jamie Fontes, a sophomore at Cam High, is a third-generation competitor in rodeo who has been competing in rodeo competitions for two years.
Fontes competed in National High Schools Finals Rodeo last year as a freshman. She has also won multiple forms of competition with prize pools from hundreds to two thousand dollars.
Fontes said competing requires a lot of work and effort. “It’s not just you, it’s your animal,” she said. It tends to take up most of her time with hours of practice almost every weekend.
In rodeo, there are many different events that each have different rules. For example, individuals can compete in Barrel Racing where the winners are determined based on the fastest times or the rough stock event, an event not based on time, but rather the completion of tasks to the best of their ability. Another event is Pole Bending, in which competitors must weave through poles and the fastest time wins. The majority of competitions are based on time, though, and these are the events Fontes normally competes in.
Being a third-generation rider in her family, Fontes recalls overcoming a barrier to entry. The sport was difficult to break into at first, but Fontes was determined to improve her skills and support her family’s love for the sport. “I just always liked it because my family did it,” she said.
Fontes practices in her family’s arena. A normal practice consists of saddling one of her two horses for a warm-up and roping a fake steer (male cow). Some of her practice sessions involve her close friends, where they will practice roping a fake steer together.
Among the many forms of competitions, Fontes said that team roping was her favorite. Team Roping involves two people, where one person ropes the steer around the horns and the other ropes the hind legs.
Competitions happen about three times a month where various age groups can compete in an indoor or outdoor arena.