Granddaughters can learn plenty from their grandmothers, and Abbie Jacobsen is no exception.
How many grandchildren can say that their grandma taught them how to tie a goat, though?
Jacobsen, who will be a senior at Whitehall High School in the fall, said everything she has learned about the rodeo, she learned it from her grandmother, Monica Wiggers.
“My grandma had horses when I was growing up and I learned everything from her,” Jacobsen said. “She got me involved in the rodeo when I was in the sixth grade, and I have been in it ever since. She did compete in it, too. She pretty much taught me everything I know, her and my dad.”
Wiggers taught Jacobsen well.
Jacobsen is one of a number of Muskegon area youths who have qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo, which will be contested at the Lazy E. Arena in Guthrie, Okla., July 17-23. In all, 43 states will be sending teams to compete in Oklahoma. Competitors from five Canadian providences, Mexico, Australia and New Zeeland also qualified, however, outside competition will not be eligible to participate due to the coronavirus.
Jacobsen has qualified for nationals in the goat tying competition after winning her event in the state championships in Nashville, Mi.
“You are on your horse and you have to run down a goat that is tied to a stake on a rope that is 10-feet long,” Jacobsen said. “You dismount from your horse while it is still running, and you tie three of the goats’ legs. It has to stay tied to six seconds.”
Jacobsen lives on a farm and has her own horse. It is the fourth time that she has qualified for nationals, having previously qualified last year and in the seventh and eighth grades.
“I get a whole lot of different reactions,” Jacobsen said when she tells people about her sport. “Some say it is really cool, while others say it is mean, but it’s not. The animals are really well taken care of.”
Other Muskegon qualifiers include:
*Samantha Bennett, who will be a Fremont senior, has qualified in breakaway roping after winning her event at the Michigan finals. She also was runner-up in pole bending, and she received the Top Hand Award and her horse was selected Horse of the Year.
*Tori Patterson will join Jacobsen in the goat tying competition after placing second at state. Patterson, who will be a sophomore at Ravenna, qualified in pole bending, too, after finishing third in Michigan.
*Trevor Taghon, who will be a Morley-Stanwood sophomore, is headed to nationals after tying for first place in bull riding.
*Fremont’s Jessica Bennett qualified for the junior nationals, but that event has been cancelled.
*Taylor Klomp did not qualify for finals, but the Whitehall senior received a $1,000 Merit scholarship.
Jacobsen said she is looking to compete in the sport at the collegiate level, and the University of Tennessee Martin is on her radar.
“I like the environment,” she said about the sport. “It’s super competitive, but it is a friendly environment. Everybody, even your No. 1 person, is there to help people. Everybody is so nice and willing to be there for anybody at any time.”