Craig resident Jaidyn Steele proudly poses with her championship hardware. The 6-year-old was crowned "Saddle Champ" in her second year of competition.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Craig resident Jaidyn Steele proudly poses with her championship hardware. The 6-year-old was crowned "Saddle Champ" in her second year of competition.

Rodeo in her veins

Six-year-old Craig resident crowned Little Britches saddle champion

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— Jaidyn Steele appears to be your typical 6-year old girl.

She plays with Barbies, and her favorite TV show is "SpongeBob SquarePants."

But, there is something different running through Jaidyn's veins.

You see, Jaidyn has rodeo in her blood.

She was born into rodeo, and now - after two short years - she's being recognized as the best in her age group.

The Craig resident was crowned Little Britches saddle champion Feb. 3 in Rifle, following in her family's footsteps.

The award is given to the best all-around cowgirl.

Jaidyn finished with the highest average throughout the 10-week winter season in the 5- to 8-year-old age group - the Little Wrangler division.

"I love that I'm champ," she said. "I got to bring the saddle to school for show-and-tell. It was neat to show it off."

Jaidyn competes, and wins, in four events: barrel racing, pole-bending, goat tail tying and flag racing.

The No. 1 ranked cowgirl heading into the national finals in July in Pueblo says she likes pole bending the best, but it's having a good time and being with friends that keeps her coming back.

Of course, like any athlete, she has her traditions.

She never wears yellow, "it's bad luck," she said.

She never lays her cowboy hat on the bed, "you have to jump on it if that happens."

She has a pink outfit she dons on the day of competition and has not one, but two, horses she brings with her.

She says rodeo doesn't scare her, but the water in the horse trough does.

In Little Britches Rodeo, first-time saddle champs get dunked in a horse trough full of water as a celebratory tradition.

On Feb. 3, Jaidyn got wet.

"I knew it was coming," she said. "I kept saying 'save me, save me' but it happened anyway. It's part of being the champ."

Little Britches results - Craig residents

Kasen Brennise finished fourth in the Little Wranglers all-around division.

Kinlie Brennise finished fifth in the Little Wranglers all-around division.

Gabbi Steele finished fifth in the Junior Girls all-around division.

Casey Barnes finished third in Junior Boys all-around.

Dusty Taylor finished fourth in Junior Boys all-around.

Wyatt Uptain finished fifth in Junior Boys all-around.

Denton Taylor finished sixth in Junior Boys all-around.

Trent Vernon finished seventh in Junior Boys all-around.

Taylor Vernon finished second in Senior Girls all-around division.

Eric Fleming finished first in Senior Boys all-around.

Troy Vernon finished second in Senior Boys all-around.

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