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CENTENNIAL, Colo. (KDVR) — Sadie Jackson grew up in the saddle.

“I just have a lot passion for it, because I get to connect with the animals,” said Jackson, a sophomore at Grandview High School. “(Rodeo is) different than everything else, like all of the other high school sports, and I get to have more of a western way of life.”

This rodeoing 15-year-old is roughly one-eighth the size of her quarter horse named TC. But when they team up for barrel racing competitions, they’re a blur.

“I can’t really be nervous, because my horse feels my nerves,” Jackson said. “It’s definitely scary, but it’s also a lot of fun because I have that adrenaline.”

That rush paid off two years ago at the National Western Stock Show in Denver with a championship in Women’s Barrel Racing. Jackson and TC are raring to go after a repeat next week.

“I can just kind of feel, now that we’ve been together for so long, if she feels good (then) I feel good,” Jackson said.

Jackson has won a handful of titles and she has the championship buckles to prove it, but the buckle she won at the 2020 Bill Pickett Rodeo on Martin Luther King Jr. Day has the most meaning to her.

“It’s really nice because I can show other African American girls or boys that they can strive to be just like me,” Jackson said in a moment of reflection. “There’s not a lot of (African Americans) that are out there (competing in high school rodeo). It’s really cool that more of us are starting to come up.”

When she wraps up her high school career, Jackson plans to compete at the collegiate level and, someday, she hopes to chase the cans on the professional circuit.

“My real dream is to go to the National Finds Rodeo and compete in the NFR. And just kind of make what I’m doing my big thing,” Jackson said.

In other words, this Colorado cowgirl wants to make a name for herself.