rodeo

I have watched my grandniece, Jadyn Mortensen, grow up since the day she was born. She has surprised me over the years…not because she couldn’t do anything she wanted to, but because she almost instantly became interested in horses. Maybe that wasn’t a surprise to her parents and grandparents, but since she lives in Rawlins, Wyoming and I live in Casper, Wyoming, I didn’t see her growing interest in her day-to-day life. I realized she loved horses when she was in town and out at her grandparents’ ranch. Seeing her with the horses there was a beautiful thing. She was just a girl of nine or ten years, but she was like a horse whisper…even then.

Jadyn is talented in many ways. Besides horses, she loves snowmobiles, motorcycles, 4 wheelers, boats, and I’m sure, a number of other sports. Still, for most of her high school career, Jadyn loved barrel racing. She was amazing. She won many awards, and her riding was so exciting to watch. Jadyn is fearless on a horse, and her horse is fearless when she is riding. They work and move as one unit. Not only is she an amazing barrel racer, but she is also very talented at trick riding…I guess that’s what you would call it. Standing on the back of her horse doesn’t scare her one bit, and that is amazing.

I suppose I could be biased when it comes to the riding ability of my grandniece, but that I’m not the only one who is impressed with her, so I guess that the corroboration makes all the difference. As she was preparing to graduate from high school, Jadyn received a full-ride scholarship to the University of Wyoming to be a part of their barrel racing team. They saw how amazing she is too. I know that Jadyn’s college career is going to be a wonderful experience for her, but I think her parents, Amanda Reed and Sean Mortensen are going to find this coming year to be bittersweet. While they are excited for their girl to spread her wings and fly, they hate the fact that she is flying away from home. It’s not too far away, but too far to see her every day, like they are used to doing. Nevertheless, she is going to have a great year. Jadyn is planning to study mechanical engineering, so she will have lots of studying to do, on top of her rodeo events…and of course, hopefully a few fun events too. Jadyn is a level-headed girl, so I know that her studies will be her top priority. Today is Jadyn’s 18th birthday. Happy birthday Jadyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

I first met my niece, Amanda Reed in 2002, when she was a 16-year-old girl with “stars in her eyes” as they say. Her dad, Mike Reed married my sister, Caryl that year, and they became a blended family. Life was mostly in her future then, because she was still in high school, but that was 20 years ago, and a lot has changed. Amanda went to work at the Rawlins National Bank at a young age and has worked her way up to the pretty prestigious position of BSA Agent, which is a part of the law enforcement area of the bank. She is involved in deterring fraud, money laundering, and such. I don’t claim to know all she does, but I know that it is an important part of the banking system.

Also, since high school, she and her partner, Sean Mortensen have a little family of their own, with their daughter Jadyn coming on the scene almost 18 years ago. They have done and exceptional job of raising their beautiful girl, who will be going to the University of Wyoming in the fall on a rodeo scholarship.

That said, Amanda and Sean are about to become empty nesters, and I just wonder how they will feel about that, because I have really never seen parents who have included their child in every aspect of their lives like these two have. Jadyn is a very well-adjusted kid, because of how her parents raised her, and she is someone they can both be very proud of. Now, with Jadyn off to college, life is about to take another turn for Amanda and Sean.

They have always been involved in whatever Jadyn is doing, and she was involved in their activities. From Summer sports to Winter sports and everything in between, this active family stayed very busy, and I’m sure that even with Jadyn away at college, that will not change. When they aren’t traveling to some of her rodeo events, I’m sure they will still be hanging out with their large group of friends at the lake or in the mountains, depending on their plans for the day and the season it is. Amanda and Sean have a very active social life, and they are always on the go. The only difference now will be that they will have one less person in their entourage, and while they are happy for their daughter, I’m sure Amanda and Sean are a little bit sad for themselves too. Being an empty nester is an adjustment, no matter how you slice it. Today is Amanda’s birthday. Happy birthday Amanda!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

11709663_10153403763842403_5383432000096977059_n13726692_10206769754863650_6707484723834739745_nIt’s really hard for me to believe that my grand niece, Jaydn Mortensen is twelve years old today, but she is, nevertheless. Jaydn has done a lot of living in her relatively few years. She is the only child of her parents, my niece Amanda Reed, and her significant other, Sean Mortensen, and they like giving their daughter a full life. She has never been made to feel like she is too little to be around the adults, and so, she has been four wheeling, boating, and snowmobiling with her parents and their friends. 12108709_1026749597356650_8371223382723240426_nJaydn’s family loves all kinds of outdoor sports, and so it stands to reason that Jaydn does too. I think her extensive time at Seminole Reservoir has probably turned her into a fish…so to speak. He parents spend every possible weekend at the lake, and that means lots of activities.

Sports aside though, I think that Jaydn’s true love…for now anyway…is horses. She has such a way with them. She loves to ride them and take care of them, and she isn’t afraid of them, even though last summer started off badly, when she was bucked off of a horse, breaking both of her arms. What a way to start the summer vacation. That didn’t deter her at all. Jaydn is very much into all things animal, and especially if it relates to the fair and rodeo. She has started showing horses, and is really quite good at it, to which her ribbons will attest. In her first horse showing, she took 4 Grand Champion, and 1 Reserve Champion in horse. She was also voted Outriders Princess last year, which is the best of the best…but then we knew that.

Every year, Jaydn gets better and better at the things she loves to do. I don’t know 10583861_795929897105289_1159109090271531984_n482872_538371786194436_156371790_nawhat her future goals and dreams are, and maybe she doesn’t know either, but I think she would be a great veterinarian or some other such occupation involving animals, because she simply has a way with them. She doesn’t just love horses, although, they are her true love, but she likes goats and rabbits and other animals too. I think she just has a heart for animals in general, and it’s obvious from what I’ve seen, that they love her too. Today is Jaydn’s 12th birthday. Happy birthday Jaydn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My dad was always a cowboy at heart. In his younger days, he rode horses, worked on the family farm, and did all the other cowboy type things. He listened to country music, and liked old westerns on television, or attend the rodeo. But, the one thing that that, in my opinion showed his cowboy style the best, was the cowboy hat that he so often wore. You almost never saw him in any other hat on vacation, and he wore it if they went someplace that it would fit in for. I’m quite sure he hated not being able to wear it to the places that it just wasn’t appropriate.

Dad always took such good care of his hat, and you could always tell that he was one of the good guys, because his hat was always white, and of course, the good guys in any old western, wore a white hat. I suppose that was like the football teams of today. If all the helmets looked alike, how would you know which team was yours. So we always knew that Dad was a good guy, because he wore a white hat.

Oh, Dad had other hats too, and in fact I can vividly see him is one of the many baseball type hats he had, and of course, there was the hat that was a tool of his trade…the hard hat. I clearly remember him in those, but I never felt like they fit his personality like the cowboy hat did. Dad was always the guy I thought of when someone said cowboy. He wore the Bolo ties, and the western belt and vest, and what cowboy would be complete without the cowboy boots, but none of that said cowboy as much as the cowboy hat.

When I think of my dad, I have to say that one of my favorite pictures is of Dad on a horse with his white cowboy hat. He was doing one of his favorite things…taking his family on a vacation. They had taken a horseback ride on a trail, and Dad looked so happy. He was in his element, in the mountains on vacation, and riding a horse. Just what a cowboy would want to be doing.

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