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(Courtesy Photo)

Artesia native Jade Jackson is heading back to the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Huron, S.D., for her third and final year in junior high.

Jackson is a three-time national qualifier and a three-time state champion. She holds the New Mexico state title for ribbon roping in 2016 and back-to-back titles in team roping for 2017 and 2018.

The New Mexico Junior Rodeo Association recently held its state finals in Gallup to determine who would advance to the national level. The association held 10 regular-season rodeos and state, which consisted of two long go-rounds and one short round, with only the top 10 in the state competing in the short round. The top four then advance to nationals.

Jackson and her partner, John Hisel, came out on top, earning themselves the state championship. They will now compete at nationals in hopes of bringing the national title home.

Jackson is the daughter of Jody and Larissa Jackson and has one sister, Jewel. She will be a freshman next year at New Mexico Connections Academy and achieves her goals in and out of the arena, maintaining a 3.0 GPA or higher in order to compete in rodeo.

Jackson works hard each and every day, roping and learning how to make herself better at what she loves. She says she likes to keep these mottos in mind: “If you don’t jump, you’ll never know if you can fly,” and “Remember, when you’re not working to improve, your competition is. Always give your best. Practice like a champion, ride like a champion, live like a champion. Talen is God-given – be humble. Fame is man-given – be thankful.”

Jackson says she gives all glory to God, then her parents for all the support through the good and the bad.

Featuring roughly 1,000 contestants from 43 states, five Canadian provinces, Australia and Mexico, the NJHFR is the world’s largest junior high rodeo. In addition to competing for more than $80,000 in prizes, contestants will also be vying for more than $200,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named a NJHFR world champion.

To earn this title, contestants must finish in the top 20 – based on their combined times/scores in the first two rounds – to advance to Saturday evening’s final round. World champions will then be determined based on their three-round combined times/scores.

Again this year, the Saturday championship performances will be televised nationally as part of the “Cinch High School Rodeo Tour” series on RFD-TV. Live broadcasts of all NJHFR performances will air on www.ridepass.com. Performances times are 7 p.m. June 24 and 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day thereafter.

To follow local favorites, visit www.NHSRA.com daily for complete results.

Jackson would also like to thank her sponsors, without whom her journey would not be possible.