SWR: Tell me how you got started roping professionally?
Jade: I've roped my whole life; I grew up on a ranch. All I've ever wanted to do was rope. In 2005, I was at the Junior Worlds and that's when Allen Bach got me hooked up with Matt Tyler.
I had always planned on trying to rope professionally one day, but when I cracked out is when I got the chance to rope with Matt and it kind of went from there.
SWR: That's not a bad first professional partner.
Jade: Yeah, that was pretty exciting. I never planned on being able to start out with someone like that, but it just kind of happened. I knew a lot of guys, though. Jake Barnes was who first told me to call Matt, then Allen got me in touch with him. I just practiced with him one day and then he told me he wanted to rope and it all worked out.
SWR: What did you learn from Matt that first year?
Jade: I learned a lot from him. My first year was like his 21st year. He knew everywhere to go and everything to do. I just tried to sit back and take it all in. It was good, I liked doing that because I didn't know what to expect and he could fill me in on what to expect before going everywhere so that eased my mind a lot. Every time we went somewhere he'd be telling me on the way there what was going to happen, how the rodeo was going to be and what the setup was like. So that helped a lot, too.
SWR: Most of the time, it takes a few years for someone to jump straight from high school to the professional ranks, but that hasn't been the case for you, why is that?
Jade: I had always dreamed of being able to jump out and get started the way I did, but I didn't know it was going to be a reality. I figured I'd start out with one of my buddies who roped good, but it was just good fortune that it worked out that I got to rope with Matt. Then that opened so many doors for me. When you're roping with somebody like that, then somebody else who ropes that good will rope with you, too.
SWR: I guess winning rookie of the year at the end of that season was a great honor.
Jade: You only get one shot to do that no matter what. I began that year wanting to make the Finals and that was definitely a goal besides that. Since I didn't make the Finals, I was glad I at least got to get that.
SWR: Who has helped you most the first couple years with your heeling?
Jade: Anytime I've had any trouble with my roping, I try to talk to Kory Koontz. He came over to Matt's to practice with me a couple times if I was wanting to learn this better or that better. He's been really good to me. There have been a lot of guys who have been helpful too, but I've been the most comfortable talking to Kory.
SWR: Is that who you'd say your roping is most similar to?
Jade: No, not really. I try to pattern my style after Clay Cooper, mostly. I don't think I rope as good as him, but I try to have a more normal style like he does. There's nothing I do that's much different. I've tried to take some stuff Clay does, some stuff Kory does and some stuff Allen does: little things that each of them do and try to mold it into my own style.
SWR: I'm sure 2007 didn't quite go as planned, but in the end you really came to Brandon Beers's rescue.
Jade: I quit going after Salinas last year. I was home helping on the ranch and Brandon called me and I took off right before the end of August. Brandon and I have roped a lot. I used to go stay at his house in the summertime when I was little and he's been a great friend so it was fun to go rope with him for a little while. His horses were crippled, his dad was down, but he kept his head up and I was happy to see him do good.
SWR: Tell me how the opportunity came up for you and 2007 World Champion Header Chad Masters to rope together.
Jade: We had talked about it a little bit beforehand and then during the U.S. Finals we went ahead and made it final that we were going to rope. Ever since then I've been excited for this year to start. I've been staying with him for three weeks practicing with him every day and he's just a great guy and we get along good and we've had a lot of fun. I'm really excited about this year.
SWR: What does he do in the arena that makes him so good to heel for?
Jade: He's a good horseman. No matter what horse he's riding, it seems like he handles them the same way every time. I've only been roping with him for three weeks and I already feel like I know what's going to happen. He handles them good and of course he ropes awesome, too. He does everything right and that makes it easy to rope for him. I know if he does have to reach, he's not going to leave me, he's gong to hold up and handle them good and I'm going to have a shot every time.
SWR: What are you riding?
Jade: My sorrel horse, Ice Cube, is 10 this year. I bought him from Wade Bunn from California five years ago. He was really green when I bought him and he hadn't been anywhere and I kind of made him myself. He's been really awesome. He's my favorite horse in the world. I've been through a lot with him. It was a long road getting him good, but it was worth the wait. He's good in every situation. He can really run and he's been cowy.
He's a pain to be around. He hates being by himself. He humps up and tries to buck every time I saddle him, he's just a pain, but he's awesome to rope on.
I've got a little buckskin mare I call Molly and she's just going to be seven this year. I bought her from a guy named Ivan Stuart from Cave Creek, Arizona, last March. She was a cow horse and had been heeled on some, but she was just so broke and so cowy that even though she was green she worked good because she was so broke. She's good inside the little buildings.
SWR: So with those horses and that partner, what are your expectations for 2008?
Jade: It's kind of hard since I've never been to the Finals to say win the world, but that's ultimately the goal. I feel like I have the right partner and if everything goes right we could have just as good of a shot as anyone to win the world. My whole life I've just wanted to make the Finals and win the world. I feel like I'll definitely make the Finals, and if you make the Finals, you have a chance once you get there. I know he's got the confidence and we were talking just the other day and I know it's his goal to win another one. I'm gong to make that my goal, too.
SWR: It looks like it will be a great pairing, best of luck.