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Sadye Simpson paves way for CNFR berth

Sadye Simpson remembers the first time she sat on a horse. It wasn’t long before she knew that would be a part of the rest of her life.

Sadye Simpson“I have been barrel racing since I was about 4 years old. At age 2, my parents bought me my first pony,” the Weatherford College sophomore recalled. “I entered the little local play day, and after about 10 times of going through the barrels, I told my mom, ‘This one is not fast enough. I want to go faster.’ Of course, we stepped it up, and that’s where it all started.”

At press time, Simpson was looking at a berth in the College National Finals Rodeo in June in Caspar, Wyoming. She was second in the Southwest Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association in barrel racing with a 10-point lead on third place and a 45-point lead on fourth (160 out of first). The top three individuals in each event advance to the CNFR.

Simpson focuses on barrel racing now, but there was a time when she competed in every event she could, she loved rodeoing so much.

“All through my younger years and in high school I competed in every event possible, pole bending, goat tying, barrels and breakaway roping,” she said. “I continued to break away in college up until this year. I decided to put all of my time and effort into my main event, barrel racing.

“With my family owning cutting horses, I also do that full-time. However, they do not offer cutting in collegiate rodeo.”

Simpson grew up in a rodeo family, so her adapting to riding a horse came naturally. Rodeo, however, brought out her competitive side along with the chance to make some great friendships.

“The thrill that comes from competing is simply unexplainable. It is one of the most unique feelings,” she said. “I am a whopping 97-pound girl running full blast on a 1,200-pound animal. The only control you have is a little bit in their mouth. When you actually think about that, it’s pretty dang cool.

“I just love the relationship I have with my horses. Running as fast as you can on a horse that you know will give you everything that they have causes major adrenaline.”

It can also be major dangerous, as she noted. Though the dangers of rodeo are often associated with bull riding and bareback riding, going at breakneck speed on a horse coming as close as possible to metal barrels can be scary and dangerous.

And yes, she has been injured.

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“I am sure people think we are crazy,” Simpson said. “I have been involved in a few horrific accidents, but thankfully I have never been terribly injured. Like any sport, there are the dangers of something scary happening. I personally never worry about anything happening, but I can definitely see how people who aren’t in the atmosphere daily would be scared.”

In high school, Simpson qualified for the Texas High School Rodeo Association State Finals four consecutive years in barrel racing and cutting. She also qualified in breakaway roping and goat tying.

“High school was so much fun, but I would not go back and change a thing,” she said.

Last year she received her professional card and competes in barrel racing. College rodeo athletes can compete collegiately and professionally.

“I rodeoed most of the summer to learn the ins and outs, and just get my feet wet,” she said. “This year, I had won just enough to be able to get into Denver and most of the building rodeos besides Houston and San Antonio. In order to get into those two, you must be top 50 in the world.”

Along with her collegiate success this year, Simpson has professionally placed at the Odessa Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association event and made the short round at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.

“My goal this year is to make the Texas Circuit Finals and hopefully rodeo all summer to win enough to be in the top 50 so I can get into the buildings next winter,” she said.

“Sadye is an outstanding young lady who has already had success at the pro level,” said WC Rodeo Coach Johnny Emmons. “She’s all business, has a couple outstanding horses and her future in rodeo is very bright. I hope she can finish out the year strong and make the CNFR. She has a good chance, and I know she wants it.”

While she does indeed have her sights set on reaching the CNFR, she does not plan on making rodeo her career.

“Education is very important to me, and will always come first,” she said. “I hope to attend law school after graduating, but I will always rodeo and have horses. It runs in my blood.”

Simpson is wrapping up her time at Weatherford College. Next school year she plans to transfer to TCU.

“I am so thankful to have gotten to spend two amazing years attending Weatherford College,” she said. “It has been a blessing to get to rodeo for WC and have such an amazing coach like Johnny Emmons. I’m truly thankful for each and every memory.”

by Rick Mauch

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