Amazing and fun things happen in Denton during the summer. It’s sunny, the weather is warm, there’s swimming, and the North Texas Fair and Rodeo (NTFR) takes the city by storm every August. The NTFR is an annual event that draws a big crowd full of locals, out-of-towners, and competitors. Even though football is known as The sport of Texas, there are a lot of serious competitors in the area that have chosen Rodeo as their sport. Among the competitors this year is a good friend of mine, Sadie Hairford, who has been “rodeoing” competitively for the past six years.
Sadie has lived in Horse Country for the past 11 years and will be attending Texas Women’s University as a pre-nursing student as well as launching her pro-rodeo career in October. Needless to say, she’s got a big year ahead of her. Lucky for all fair-goers she will be making time in her crazy schedule to compete in the NTFR 21 and Under Rodeo just around the corner.
The fans of the fair and rodeo don’t get to see the preparation, and the long practice hours. It takes stamina for competitors to keep up with the rodeo lifestyle. For Hairford two major rodeos came before the fair. She competed at the Texas High School Rodeo Association State Finals in June and International Finals Youth Rodeo (IFYR) in Shawnee every July. These were her last two high school rodeos before joining the professional rodeo circuit, also major events she has competed in every year. Impressively she is now a representative for Bloomer Trailers on their high school team, as the ONLY female team roper.
Throughout high school Sadie competed in goat tying, team roping, and her favorite event- breakaway roping. Three events, three horses, and three different types of practices have helped Sadie learn to be very disciplined. It’s an intense life that definitely takes a lot of time and requires full dedication. She continues to challenge herself, on top of competing in all of those events, she is training two colts that will accompany her on the pro-rodeo journey and eventually, she hopes, take her to the National Finals Rodeo one day.
I’ve helped Sadie however I can during her practices for years, and watched her rigorous routine. She will saddle one horse, warm-up, work on one event, cooldown and then do it all over again. Not only are the practices hard, but they are all year around. Rain or shine. They compete.
The practices obviously prepare Sadie for the next rodeo, but what really prepares her is the competition. The pressure, the noise, and the performance fuels Sadie and challenges her each time she takes the arena. All of that is on overdrive when she competes at home- it’s that extra push to over achieve.
“It’s nice being able to compete around my hometown and see all my friends and family in the stands,” explained Sadie Hairford, “I’ve been coaching kids in the area and it would be great to have them watch me do what we have been working on.”
This is the first in a series of 3 blogs about Sadie her journey in today’s world of rodeo. Next week I will cover the intense competition of State and Shawnee, before she performs in front of a hometown audience at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo.