Usually a college scholarship is just for one person. That wasn’t the case recently. Poplar Bluff’s Leah Jackson recently signed with the Three Rivers rodeo team. Jackson and her 11-year-old horse Slick will compete in barrel racing. “It feels pretty good. I’m really excited and I’m ready to start my new journey with the Three Rivers College rodeo,” Jackson said. “I was really nervous but I’m OK now … I’m excited about just being a part of the team and just simply rodeoing, doing what I love.” Jackson grew up around cousins who rodeoed and got into the sport when she was about 10. She’s won the Memorial Day youth 1D average, the Shamrock Showdown youth 1D average, finished sixth in Kentucky high school rodeo last year and is currently fifth in Kentucky this year.
“She has improved greatly,” said Susie Rahlmann, who has been an informal coach for Jackson for the past four years. “When she first came she was just kind of getting started. With rodeo being such a sport that it is individualized, she has really had to work on a lot of things herself because it is an individual sport, and she has worked so hard and improved so much over the years.” Jackson’s current times are around 14.8 seconds. “She’s very competitive, a great student and the first and foremost reason you got to college is to get an education. She is going to do really good at Three Rivers College and we are really lucky to have her,” Three Rivers coach Chad Phipps said. “The new farm out at Fairdealing, we’ve got our arena set up, our barn set up, everything is looking great.” Jackson and Slick will get to practice in a new arena the rodeo team has set up in Fairdealing. “I got him a couple years ago and I love him,” Jackson said of Slick. “He loves everyone. He can get mad sometimes, but I guess everyone does.” Jackson plans to study to become a kindergarten teacher.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic