Six years ago, Jade Rindlisbacher of Lake Shore was a nine-year-old girl who wanted to follow in the rodeo footsteps of her father, Jason Rindlisbacher (a PRCA heeler).

She wanted to compete in as many events as she could — but there was a problem.

The Rindlisbacher family didn’t have a horse trained to do events like pole-bending and barrel-racing.

The solution was that Jason gave Jade his old roping horse Slim to train.

“It was frustrating at first,” Jade said. “But he’s awesome.”

The duo has become two of the best in the state at what they do.

Jade — who is now a freshman in Spanish Fork High School and competes for the Juab Rodeo Club — tallied the only under-20-second time in the pole-bending in Saturday night’s Utah High School Rodeo Association championship performance as she completed the “rodeo slalom” in 19.945 seconds.

“I was just going for a smooth, clean run,” Jade said. “It was so much fun. I can’t even explain it.”

That time not only earned the freshman a belt buckle for winning the short-go but she also won a belt buckle for having the best average time in her three runs during finals week.

She was locked in a tight competition for the state title with Morgan cowgirl Sayge Madsen, the defending champion in the event, and didn’t find out until Saturday night’s awards ceremony that she won the title and the accompanying award, a brand-new saddle.

“Winning state means the world to me, especially as a freshman,” Jade said. “I was so nervous coming in with all the pressure but I made clean runs.”

In an event that is decided by 10ths — or even 100ths — of seconds, she said the key to coming out on top is precision.

“You know you need to be clean and make it smooth,” she said.

She is used to competing at a high level as she won the pole-bending three straight years in the junior high competition — but doing it now at the high school level is another matter.

“I do like the pressure,” Jade said.

While she also did well in the barrel-racing competition this year, the freshman said her goal is to follow in her father’s footsteps and win state in the team-roping.

Her overall performance earned her another award as she was named the Rookie of the Year for 2017.

“It’s so much to take in for me as a freshman,” Jade said.

She credited her family, including her mother Natalie, for helping her train and getting to this point.

Heading to nationals: The only cowboy/cowgirl to do as well as Jade Rindlisbacher’s first-place finish at state in the pole-bending was Lehi’s Dawson Zaharias, who won the boys cutting competition. Many — like Lehi’s Emmalee Dubois (goat tying) and South Utah County’s Hayes Weight (bull riding), Amanda Butler (barrel-racing) and Wasatch’s Shawn Covey (saddle bronc riding) — earned the opportunity to compete in the National High School Rodeo Finals in Wyoming in July.

Rodeo generosity: The high school rodeo community did its annual “boot race” to raise money for a foster kids charity. The donations from the rodeo finals totaled more than $1,700.

NBA goat names: One of the fun traditions at the state finals is the contest to come up with the best names for the goats who are tied in the goat-tying event.

This year one of the themes was NBA-related names as “Lebron, the GOAT,” “Goat-den Hayward” and “Rudy Goat-bert” all trotted out for their turn.

Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd

can be reached at 801-344-2555 or Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.

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