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Rodeo king

Cindy Ramunno

Students and staff who know Eagle Valley High School senior Jerad Schlegel know that he has traveled the rodeo circuit most of his 18 years. But if you don’t know him well, you’d never guess he was a cowboy. The only distinguishing characteristic maybe identifying Schlegel as a cowboy is his blue and white Ford pick-up truck. It’s always parked in the same spot ” the first row, first spot (closest to the tennis courts) in the high school’s parking lot.

He doesn’t flaunt the fact that he’s an amazing all-around cowboy. In school, he doesn’t doan Wranglers and his feet aren’t crammed in boots. You’ll usually find him in a comfortable pair of jeans and a t-shirt, and his smile is white ” no tobacco stains. He never wears any of the big buckles he’s won. In fact, Schlegel’s winnings ” his many huge buckles and lavish saddles ” remain in his family’s basement in Burns.

He’s your all-American boy. His football and basketball coaches say he’s dependable and hard-working. They say he’s a strong team leader and a talented athlete. Schlegel received All-League honors in both sports, and First Team All-State in Football as a defensive back. His grades are good and he has a lot of friends. But only a few of his local friends own horses.

If you’ve been in Eagle County for any amount of time, his last name should sound familiar. You know Schlegel family and if you don’t know the entire family, you surely know a relative of Jerad’s. He’s part of the fourth generation of Schlegels.

Schlegel started riding horses when he was around 2 or 3 years old. At 8 years old, he started competing in Little Britches Rodeos in Rifle. “I started off slow, and then I did more events as I got older,” says Schlegel. Schlegel is currently at a rodeo every weekend, as he is every year starting at the end of March through September. His younger brother, Joel, who’s a freshman at Soroco High School in Oak Creek, and his 8-year-old sister, Jacey, who attends Gypsum Elementary, ride also. Jerad is on a Rodeo Team ” the North West High School Rodeo Club ” kids are pulled from Grand Junction and the western slope to make up that team.

Rodeo teaches you a lot ” one of the most profound things Schlegel has learned is the fact that when it’s taken away from you, you miss it. “If you get hurt and can’t ride for a while, that’s when you realize how much you love it ” when you can’t do it,” he says. He also says that like any other sport ” it’s no fun to lose. “Rodeo is expensive and if you’re not doing well, it’s not worth it,” Schlegel adds.

His parents, Randy and Sherri, have instilled work ethics in their kids, and Jerad says that his parents have always told him that “whatever sport it is, don’t take anything lightly ” work hard to win.” At football and basketball games, you’d see Sherri with the camcorder and Randy getting excited over an official’s call.

Schlegel plans on attending college somewhere in Texas ” either Vernon College in Vernon or Western Texas in Snyder ” to rodeo, of course. He says, “The best thing about rodeo is traveling all over and meeting tons of new people with the same interests. I have friends from all over the country ” it’s fun to go every weekend. And it’s fun to win.” Of course.


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