Williams Lake high school rodeo athlete Jaxen Carson of 150 Mile House loves every minute working with horses.
The 18-year-old, who recently graduated from high school after completing his final year home schooling, has qualified for both the National High School Rodeo Finals and the Canadian High School Rodeo Finals after winning the cutting event at the B.C. Provincial High School Rodeo Finals held in Quesnel June 11-13.
While Jaxen said he will forego the national finals, he plans on travelling to Swift Current, Sask. from Aug. 5-8 to compete at the Canadian finals.
“It (the provincial finals) went really well for me,” Jaxen said who, on top of his first-place finish in cutting, also competed in the reigned cow horse event at the provincial finals.
This will be Jaxen’s first time competing at a Canadian rodeo finals after having competed in the sport for years.
“I started doing rodeos when I was young, then took a break for a couple years and, just these past three years I’ve gotten back into it,” he said, noting he has a great bond with his horse, nine-year-old Mia, which has been beneficial to his cutting times.
Jaxen, meanwhile, also works alongside his mom, Braden Kika, at Eagle View Equestrian Centre in Williams Lake training horses.
“I’m up there just about every day working with the horses,” Jaxen said of how much he enjoys it.
“I really like it because it’s different every day. It’s not repetitive, you’re outside and when you accomplish something with a horse it feels really good.”
He said he enjoys competing in both cutting and reigned cow horse because they are different from other rodeo events.
“You’ve got to be in more control, and it’s more professional looking,” he said.
In preparation, Jaxen has been training at Eagle View Equestrian Centre, and is planning for some stiff competition at the Canadian finals.
“I’m definitely going to have to work harder,” he said.
He also made a trip with his horse to Rocky Mountain House Alberta earlier this summer where he worked with Bill and Elaine Spate to train for the event.
“It went really well, and I’m planning to head there again on the way to Saskatchewan (for the finals),” he said.
Outside of rodeo and working with horses, Jaxen has played rep hockey up to the bantam level with the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association, and recently completed his final season in the U18 house division.
Born and raised in the Cariboo, Jaxen said he enjoys the freedom the area affords.
“It’s not really busy, you can get out easily and you’re away from all the people,” he said.
Through his high school rodeo career he added he’s made many good memories over the years.
“I got to travel a bit, see some new things and make new friends all the time,” he said.