Caldarola has winning nature

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BIG SPRING, Texas – The timing of breakaway roping’s growing popularity coincided with Jenna Caldarola’s love for the game she plays.

She competed at Odessa (Texas) College, then transferred to another rodeo school, Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. There, though, she focused on her classes and opted out of competition. Becoming a nurse takes hard work, dedication and a caring nature.

She comes by it naturally. Her grandfather and father are both surgeons, and her mother is a nurse. She still lives in Stephenville, works in Granbury, but she still competes on the weekends. Her venture to compete at the Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo was right up her ally. She posted a 2.9-second run during Thursday’s first performance to take the breakaway roping lead heading into the final two days of competition.

With hopes of qualifying for the Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo, Caldarola has focused her attention on regional rodeos. With the Lone Star State being so big, there are a lot of opportunities, but not all of them are just three hours from her home.

With $5,000 in “added” money from local organizers mixed with the entry fees of more than 65 ropers, there is a grand opportunity to win some big-time cash during the 90th anniversary of Big Spring’s rodeo. That’s one of the reasons she made the trip, but the other reasons are chasing a love for the game that she’s had for a long time.

Breakaway roping has been around for decades, but it’s popularity has only grown in recent years. It’s first year on a big stage came in March 2019 at The American, a stand-alone event that features a $2 million payday in Arlington, Texas. In 2020, it was added to ProRodeo events, with the first National Finals Breakaway Roping taking place that December.

While the sport was starting to fight its way into more and more ProRodeo events, Caldarola was in a different kind of battle.

Jenna Caldarola was diagnosed with breast cancer. While the world was isolated because of COVID, she was fighting for her life and her future. There was surgery and chemotherapy and other treatments that not only ravaged the cancer but also the healthy cells.

Because of the restrictions in place during the pandemic, her biggest supporters had to keep their distance. From surgery to the doses of drugs to the general care, Caldarola was isolated. It’s what her body needed, but her spirit pushed through.

She’s now a cancer survivor and the leader after opening night in Big Spring.

Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo
June 20-22
Bareback riding:
1. Jacob Lees, on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Silencer, and Luke Thrash, on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Bay Delight, 78 points; no other qualified rides.

Steer wrestling: 1. Jay Williamson, 4.5 seconds; 2. Dylan Schroeder, 4.7; 3. Gavin Soileau, 5.0; 4. Gary Gilbert, 5.3; 5. Rowdy Parrott, 7.3; no other qualified times.

Tie-down roping: 1. Seth Hall, 8.1 seconds; 2. Klay Kirkes, 8.4; 3. Jacob Walters, 10.0; 4. Weldon Watson, 10.1; 5. Karson Kolacek, 11.9; 6. Ryan Thibodeaux, 13.8; no other qualified times.

Breakaway roping: 1. Jenna Caldarola, 2.9 seconds; 2. Jordan Hollabaugh, 3.0; 3. Bradi Good, 3.1; 4. (tie) Rylee Strickland and Hannah Martin, 12.2; no other qualified times.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Jarrod Hammons, 79 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Django; 2. Chris Williams, 76; 3. Tom Webster, 75; 4. Darcy Radel, 73; 5. Joe Macqueen, 69; no other qualified rides.

Team roping: 1. Cody Snow/Hunter Koch, 5.1 seconds; 2. Seth Hall/Pace Blanchard, 6.4; 3. Billy Bob Brown/Josh Patton, 10.7; no other qualified times.

Barrel racing: 1. Dena Kirkpatrick, 15.79 seconds; 2. Cheyenne Wimberley, 15.89; 3. Shannon Griffin, 15.98; 4. Lydia Bierschwale-Luce, 16.26; 5. Paige Callaway, 16.47; 6. Cashen Turner, 16.48; 7. Bailee Switzer, 21.27; 8. Sierra Scott-Williams, 21.39; 9. Kirstin Carlson, 23.03; 10. Amy Turner, 24.46.

Bull riding: Lex Oakley, 82 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Machetee; no other qualified rides.


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