‘Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets you on fire’ is pretty much all that needs to be said about Jackie Ganter! This 19 year old lady is firing on all cylinders as she wraps up her first professional rodeo year at the 2015 Wrangler Nationals Final Rodeo in Las Vegas. Jackie is currently leading the WPRA Rookie-of-the-Year title in barrel racing, and is driving hard to the finish line in making a lifelong dream come true.
Hi-Pro Equine Feeds is a proud sponsor of Jackie Ganter and her team of horses that competed in 100 rodeos this year. We had the opportunity to sit down with her just before packing up to leave for Vegas.
She was calm and confident, open and honest. Her passion and energy started to build as she shared her journey to qualify for the WNFR and her love of the sport of rodeo. This is all after she had been taking college exams the last 2 days.
The most memorable rodeo of the year for Jackie was in June at the Wainwright Stampede in Alberta, Canada. She almost missed her 1st run as the barrel racing was at the beginning of the rodeo. When she realized this, she had less than 30 minutes to be ready to run. With a short warm up, she went in and won the round. She was 2nd on her next run, and won the average on Father’s Day. Every girl wants to win for their dad, and this was something special for Jackie since her Dad passed away a few years ago. “It meant a lot to me to have this win on a day that pays tribute to Dads,” mentions Jackie.
When asked about advice to give to young ladies pursuing their dreams and the sport of rodeo, she openly states, “When you aren’t winning it’s hard to keep going. We went to 11 rodeos without winning any money. Nothing seemed to be working. Some people would keep working their horses trying to fix the problems or just quit all together. We just took a break.”
She believes this made a huge difference taking a week off to rest mentally and physically. Jackie and her Mom, Angela found a place to put the 4 horses up and rested. She wraps up stating that, “For young riders, it’s good to understand when the pressure is too much it’s time to stop, reflect and rest. Then get back to it when you feel ready.”
What is so inspiring about Jackie’s journey is that she has been dreaming about running down the alley at the Thomas Mack Center in Las Vegas for most of her life. Her time is now, and she confidently says that she is ready for it. “I have been watching videos of the WNFR for almost 10 years now. All year while travelling down the road, I have studied them again and again. I have mentally ran the barrel pattern each and every time that I watch a video.”
When asked to describe herself, Jackie quietly thinks and says that she is competitive, driven and supportive. There is no doubt that these qualities have helped get her to where she is today. Thanks are in order for her Mom, Angela for doing most of the driving, and her grandparents for all of their support back home in Abilene, Texas. The mother/daughter team travelled 50,000 miles on the road this year. That is over 1,000 hours of driving, and more than 42 – 24 hour days. Not only do you have to look after yourself, but you have to look after the other part of the team, the horses.
There is no question that Jackie has an incredible roster of horses to work with. Each horse has its own personality, strengths and weaknesses. It takes real insight and intuition to know who to run and when. She has kept them healthy all year long, and they are ready to make their first appearance at the WNFR also.
Jackie Ganter is all set for Round 1 on December 3rd. She is running for herself, for her family, and for every girl that has a dream of going professional and qualifying for the WNFR. Thank you Jackie for being such a great ambassador to the young people that look up to you in this sport. We are very proud to see what you have accomplished, and will be cheering for you every second of the way in Vegas!
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