Jessi Everett saved the best for last Wednesday at the Junior National Finals Rodeo presented by YETI.
Competing in the 14 & Under Breakaway Roping at the Wrangler Rodeo Arena, Everett entered the third and final go-round as one of 10 cowgirls with two timed runs. The 12-year-old from Tarzan, Texas, placed second in the first round with a time of 2.58 seconds and finished in the middle of the pack in the second round with a 3.53. That left her second in the average with a two-run time of 6.11 seconds, behind Louisiana’s Kylie Conner and her 5.91.
“I was really just trying to treat (the last run) like anything else,” Everett said. “I knew I had to win a round or win the average so I went in thinking, ‘target, hands and score,’ just like I always do.
“I said a little prayer just before I backed in the box and it worked out OK.”
Everett’s desire to either win a round or the average was understandable. The three round winners, along with the average winner, would advance to a Shootout Round on Championship Saturday.
Sage Pierce from California claimed the first-round victory with a 2.50-second run and Madison Outhier from Texas took second-round honors with a 2.24-second run.
With the final spot in the shootout up for grabs, Everett grabbed it.
“I really came here looking to make it back on Saturday,” Everett said, “so (to win the average) is definitely a plus. Actually, we’ve worked all year on this, so just to make it here was a big accomplishment.”
Now Everett can take a couple days off to work with her horse “Snortcake” before competing in Shootout Saturday.
“We bought him off my ribbon roping partner,” Everett said. “The first day I rode him we just clicked and it’s been great ever since. He’s taken me to state and to nationals and this is the second year we’ve competed here. We’ve been through everything.”
Saturday, Everett hopes they can add to their accomplishments.