By Jolee Jordan
Bremerton, Washington—Though she had never been a competitor at the Kitsap Stampede prior to 2017, Jaime Hinton knew exactly how to get to Thunderbird Stadium where the rodeo is annually held in the town of Bremerton.
Hinton grew up in the northern Washington community of Mount Vernon and her junior rodeo path often included stops at the western Washington facility. She also served as Miss Rodeo Washington in 2000.
“I spent a lot of time there,” Hinton notes, including coaching other girls in their own competitions there after hanging up her tiara. “Tied a lot of goats, roped breakaway calves, steer daubed, poles and barrels. It was a blast!”
However, Hinton had never been a competitor at the Kitsap Stampede, Bremerton’s long standing event on the professional rodeo schedule. Before she ever bought her WPRA card, Hinton moved south to California in 2005 where she trained horses until taking a job at West Coast Horseman magazine. From there, she co-founded the West Coast Barrel Racing Association (WCBRA), whose Labor Day Finals has since become the West’s largest divisional race and one of the top 10 nationally.
Along the way, Hinton acquired Ojs Tex Wood, a two year old double Driftwood bred gelding she bought from Ozzie and Judy Gillum. More of a team roper than barrel racer at the time, Hinton trained the bay for both ends and quickly found success. Then she decided to switch gears.
“I started him on the barrels when he was 7 because that's what the lion’s share of my friends competed in and honestly, he just took to it,” says Hinton, adding that she still enjoys roping when she’s not on the road.”He’s the kind of horse you could hook to a plow, put a jump in front of him, pick up a rope or go to the show pen and no matter what, he will just try for you.”
The now 14 year old gelding is affectionately known as “The Goob.”
“He got his name because he's basically a goof ball,” Hinton admits.”He got stuck in a golf cart when he was 3, gets into everything and has the personality of a Golden Retriever.”
With The Goob in tow, Hinton bought her WPRA card in 2013 and was named the California Circuit Rookie of the Year. As she was making her own roads into the pro ranks, Hinton underwent another big life moment — she got married in 2015, moving with her new husband Kirby Anderson to Bulverde, Texas not far from San Antonio.
But her road to rodeo stardom suffered a setback when The Goob was forced into stall rest from February to September of 2016, allowing the newlywed just six runs all year. As The Goob recuperated, Hinton and her husband made a plan.
“[We] decided that as long as The Goob felt good I would go where I thought he would be successful and be ready to go home whenever he told me it was time,” says Hinton who enjoys the support of Silver Lining Herbs as her sponsor. She set goals for a certain amount of earnings both in the WPRA World Standings and in the Canadian Pro Rodeo standings and to qualify for the All American Pro Rodeo Series Finals in Waco in October.
But probably the most important goal of all was this: “take advantage and enjoy each run I get to make on him.”
Hinton has been very successful this year, on both sides of the northern border. Her name appeared in the top money winners over the Fourth of July thanks to a big showing at the Ponoka Stampede and she has had the chance during the late summer to visit her old stomping grounds in the Columbia River Circuit.
She was thrilled to make her first ever professional appearance at Thunderbird Stampede but her attention was divided as she watched her new home state buckled down in preparation for the landfall of Hurricane Harvey.
“It was my husband at home so I spent a lot of time during Harvey just checking in,” Hinton says. “We are very lucky that we didn't get the weather most of south Texas has had to endure. It's been awful to watch the news and see Facebook posts about the destruction from the hurricane. We are thankful to have not been in its path but so sad for those who are.”
Harvey reached Category 4 status before roaring ashore last week, bringing epic and devastating flooding to South Texas. With continued flooding and rescue efforts underway, the full force of the damage will not be known for some time.
As she watched from afar, Hinton prepped to make her run in Bremerton, competing during the opening performance of the Kitsap Stampede on August 24.
“I was first out in the first perf at Bremerton. I'm usually pretty timid when I haven't seen runs made on the ground,” Hinton admits. “I do my best to keep The Goob safe and I'm pretty much a wimp when it comes to bad footing but I looked around at the girls who were there and decided I better put my big girl pants on.”
Whatever it was, Hinton hit a home run. Posting a fast time of 17.46 seconds, she held off bubble barrel racer Ivy Conrado by just two one-hundredths of a second for the win.
“He made a great run; he is the most honest, trying horse I've ridden. If I do my job, he shows up for his,” says Hinton.
Calling it a “pretty cool win,” Hinton noted that winning first is always exciting but that she had a special place in her heart for the Stampede.
“Bremerton is a great rodeo. I had friends in the stands, got to stay at Steph Ryan's place just down the road and I haven't seen her in at least 15 years so that was cool,” she says. “I know the committee works hard on that rodeo each year. There’s a lot of history and tradition there and western Washington doesn't have that many ProRodeos, so I'm so glad to see it going strong and to have had the chance to compete there.”
Hinton collected $1,893 for the win, landing her 35th in the current WPRA World standings. One of her goals was to finish the season in the top 40. Another goal was to win $15,000 in the Canadian standings—she can mark that one off too as she and The Goob are currently 10th in Canada with $16,519 won.
“I've never rodeoed in Canada before, actually most of the rodeos I've entered this year are new to us both,” she says, adding that she’ll finish out the season with a few more rodeos on both sides of the border.
Like many barrel racers, Hinton gives a lot of credit not only to her horse’s ability but also to his heart.
“I've never had a horse with The Goob’s will and work ethic.”
“Mostly I'd like to thank my husband, Kirby Anderson, for believing in me and allowing me to take this year with The Goob. He knows exactly what it is to have that 'horse' and without Kirby I wouldn't be able to follow my dream.”
Conrado’s big check in Bremerton allowed her to keep her stranglehold on the 15th spot in the WPRA World standings as the season hits the final month. The Colorado cowgirl is clinging to her spot on the right side of the bubble.
Former WPRA Rookie of the Year Jackie Ganter continued her strong late season surge, moving from 18th to 16th. She earned $4,296 over the final weekend of August including a win in the short go to land second in the average in Kennewick to move to within $2,500 of Conrado.
Sydni Blanchard was the biggest winner for the second straight week, getting hot at the perfect moment of the season. After winning the long round and average in Kennewick as well as daylighting the field in Hastings, Neb., Blanchard earned $10,047 to surge from 14th a week ago to 12th.
For more information on the Kitsap Stampede, visit them on-line at https://spf.kitsapgov.com/parks/Pages/FairMain.aspx.
Kitsap Stampede Results
1. Jaime Hinton, Ojs Tex Wood, 17.46, $1,893
2. Ivy Conrado, KN Fabs Gift of Fame, 17.48, $1,623
3. Carmel Wright, Fortunes Last Xtrem, 17.54, $1,262
3. Nicole Laurence, Bullys Little Dash, 17.54, $1,262
5. Kathy Grimes, KG Justiceweexpected, 17.60, $901
6. Sherry Cervi 17.620 $631
6. Cheyenne Allan 17.620 $631
8. Teri Bangart 17.630 $361
9. Joy McDaniel 17.650 $270
10. Jessi Fish 17.670 $90
10. Nicole Riggle, Shoeless Joe Biankus, 17.67, $90