MUSIC, NUMBERS AND RODEO Nebraska cowgirl is gifted in music, math, and in the arena | TSLN.com

MUSIC, NUMBERS AND RODEO Nebraska cowgirl is gifted in music, math, and in the arena

Jayde Atkins is in accounting class, plays the saxophone in jazz band, and competes in every girls event in high school rodeo she can: barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, team roping, cutting, and reining cow horse. Photo by Denise Kasperbauer

Jayde Atkins loves numbers as much as she loves music.

And she loves rodeo, too.

The Broken Bow cowgirl, who is seventeen years old, is in accounting class, plays the saxophone in jazz band, and competes in every girls' event in high school rodeo she can: barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, team roping, cutting, and reining cow horse.

She learned her love of music from her parents, who both played in high school band. Her mom played the trumpet and her dad played the saxophone, and even though they didn't carry music into their careers, they insisted that Jayde participate in some kind of music.

She tried piano, but she started band in middle school, where she began with the sax. Now she is in her school's jazz band, marching band and concert band.

As a junior at Broken Bow High School, she has taken accounting, business and agriculture classes, and loves anything with numbers. She studies accounting while listening to classical music. Her accounting class has a bunch of boys taking a robotics class, and "it helps me tune them out," she said. Jayde listens with ear buds, though, as nobody else appreciates the music as much as she does.

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Actually, nearly any kind of music appeals to her. "I like country music, the older stuff," she said. "I enjoy pretty much everything. Country, rock, Christian, classic."

Even though she enjoys the business classes as much as the music, the numbers win. "If I didn't like business and money so much, I'd go into music."

After the end of her junior year, she already has twelve college credits in her back pocket, and will have more by the time she graduates. "It's pretty nice," she said, of being able to get college credits while in high school. "Our school is really good with letting us take online college classes, and having instructors help you if you need it."

Jayde plans on attending college and go into something business, ag-business or accounting related. She's not sure she wants to be an accountant, but something with agriculture and business interests her.

She's qualified for the Nebraska State High School Finals Rodeo both her freshman and sophomore years, and is on track to do it again this year, in all of her events. She's also qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo both years, her freshman year in the poles and cutting, and her sophomore year in those events and barrels.

Jayde is also a member of her high school's FCA, Art Club, Student Council, and played basketball, track (where her team made it to state in 2014 in the 4×8 relay), and softball.

Her older brother, Sterling Atkins, passed away two years ago. He still has an influence on his little sister. "He's a big motivator for what I do," she said.

She is the daughter of J.B. and Sonya Atkins.

The Nebraska State High School Finals Rodeo will be in Hastings June 18-19 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and at 1 p.m. June 20. For more information, visit AdamsCountyFairgrounds.com or hsrodeo-nebraska.com, or call 402.462.3247.

-Adams County Fairgrounds