By Frank J. Buchman
In the beginning there really wasn’t too much choice about riding in rodeos.
“I grew up in a big family, there are six of us girls, and my four older sisters were rodeo competitors, with my mom Mari’s inspiration, so I just followed along,” admitted Jayme Flowers.
“But, I loved it from get-go, and now really I’m the only one who’s competing in rodeos. I love to rodeo more than ever,” said the Garden City cowgirl.
“My dad Kevin hasn’t competed in rodeo, but he’s been involved with seven women in our home participating at one time or another. My younger sister did rodeo, but she has other interests now,” Flowers noted.
Adrenalin for Western action has been matched with arena success on all levels, and the recent high school honors graduate is anticipating lifetime participation in her sport of choice.
“I got my first pony when I was five, a Paint called Big Shot, and I still have him. I started riding in rodeos during the first grade and have been going ever since,” Flowers reflected.
Competing in a number of events through the years, Flowers said, “I generally enter barrel racing, pole bending and breakaway roping, but did ride in the trail class at some Little Britches Rodeos.”
Qualifying for the National Finals Little Britches Rodeos several years, Flowers was the world champion in breakaway roping two years ago, after winning the state title in that event as well.
Now concentrating on Kansas High School Rodeo Association, Flowers is preparing for the state finals June 1-4, at the Expo Centre in Topeka. “The pressure is on to qualify for the national high school rodeo finals this summer,” she conceded.
Keys to winning are the right horse conditioned to perform at peak and the cowgirl riding and roping at her best.
“I’ve been fortunate to have several good horses, but my barrel horse Truck now would have sure have to be one of the best of all,” Flowers credited.
The big 17-year-old sorrel gelding has been owned by the family since a two-year-old, and continues to improve with maturity. “Of course, it depends on arena conditions, and I do have to push and kick Truck all the way, but if we keep the barrels up we are usually good and placing at the top,” Flowers evaluated.
Sometimes better for smaller, indoor patterns, a sorrel mare called Zippin looks to be Flower’s main barrel racing mount at the state finals. “She’s really fun to ride, but Truck will be there for backup need-be,” the barrel racer commented.
The buckskin gelding called Jay serves as Flower’s pole bending and breakaway roping mount. “He’s diversified, has lots of heart, and does his best for me every run,” she appreciated.
Fastest time wins, and Flower’s arena records are the best. “There are so many variables, but I did run the poles in 20.2 seconds one time, and my best breakaway roping time was 2.2 seconds,” the champion calculated.
While her mounts know their job, it’s Flower’s task to keep them fit and ready. “I exercise my horses every day,” she verified. “I practice roping the dummy every day, too, and go to my neighbor’s just down the road and run live calves at least once a week.”
The cowgirl’s fitness is perfected with regular exercise, supplemented by a being a basketball team members throughout her school years.
“My past three years at the Kansas High School Rodeo Finals have really treated me very well,” Flowers acknowledged. She’s placed in the top ten of all three events.
Flowers remembered: “My sophomore year, I went into the state finals ranked ninth in the barrels and ended up fourth, qualifying for nationals. I didn’t have the best runs there, but it was a fun experience.
“My junior year I went into the state finals second in barrel standings and won the yearend title, which qualified me for nationals. I hit a barrel both rounds there, so I didn’t do much good in Wyoming,” Flowers recalled.
“This year if I qualify for nationals, I am really hoping to turn that around and do some good,” she added.
Looking to the upcoming high school finals, Flowers said, “I started this year with some good times, but I hit a slump in a couple of qualifying rodeos. I’m fourth in the state standings in pole bending, sixth in barrels and ninth in breakaway now.
“My goal is to end the year in the top four in all three events to compete at the national high school finals in all of them. But, it’ll all depend on how my runs go in Topeka,” Flowers tallied.
With her arena successes, Flowers had colleges seeking her out to be on their rodeo teams. “I’ve signed with Garden City Community College. They have a good team, and I can stay at home, save up to continue my education down south.
“I plan to be a veterinarian as a career, but I’m not certain where I’ll go yet. There are a lot of things still up in the air, depending on my rodeo success and offers from colleges. I don’t know where, but I’m ready to go south; Texas,” Flowers said.
Looking to long-term, Flowers forecasted: “I want to get my pro rodeo permit, maybe even this year, while I’m going to college rodeos. I’ll keep competing in rodeos as long as possible.”