A Buckley brother-and-sister rodeo team have won a state championship in roping, and they’ll soon be off to Gillete, Wyoming to compete against some of the best young cowboys and cowgirls across the world.
Ty Jacobs, 17, and Josie Jacobs, 15, took first place the last weekend of May in the Team Roping event, one of several rodeo competitions. The White River High School students compete next in July.
Their dad Josh Jacobs was a “rodeo guy” too, Ty said, and helped get the siblings into the sport, buying the horses and other equipment they needed.
“I’ve been doing it since I could pick up a rope,” Ty said.
Josie started a couple years ago and has quickly built up talent in the sport.
“It’s super fun to be able to go out and compete,” Josie said. “The rodeo world is amazing. Everyone is friends, supporting each other.”
Like many rodeo events, roping tests riders on their ability to manage horses and other livestock.
In team roping, also called heading and heeling, two horse riders attempt to restrain a steer by roping it around the horns and its hind legs. The steers wear protective wraps around their horns to avoid ropeburn.
It’s the only rodeo event where men and women compete together, so Josie and Ty get to work together as a brother-sister team.
“That’s one of the best parts about it,” Josie said.
Students don’t compete on specific high school teams. Rather, each state in the Rodeo Association organizes competition for high school age competitors. Fifth through eighth grade students compete at the junior level, and ninth through twelfth grade students compete in the high school division.
Those who win go on to compete against other teenagers from across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Australia.
The state competition was tough, Ty said. The siblings eventually made it to the short round — where they faced off against the nine other best teams from the state — and proved victorious on Monday, May 30.
Even up to that point, they’d also led the state “wire-to-wire,” meaning they maintained the top position in their event for the entire 16-rodeo season.
Now they’re training for nationals in Wyoming from July 17 to 23. Some of the best high-school age competitors from around the world will be competing to wrangle cows and race horses.
They’re lucky enough to have an arena for practicing at their house, along with horses and steer. They try to rope everyday after school, Ty said.
Diehl Hiner, president of the Washington State Rodeo Association, described Josie and Ty as professional, mature and wickedly talented competitors.
“They’re very business-like in how they go about roping,” Hiner said. “Josie … scores sharp, goes and catches just dang near everything that leaves the shoot,” Hiner said. “Ty’s a really patient heeler.”
“[They’re] just a couple of straight up high-character, quality, Christian kids,” Hiner said. “The kind of kids you’d want your kids to be friends with.”