By Jolee Lautaret-Jordan
Othello, Washington—As sisters Jade Crossley and Jordan (Crossley) Minor traveled from their home in Hermiston, Ore., to the Othello, Wash., rodeo, they had just a tick more pressure on them than normal to do well.
That's because little sister Callahan was winning the rodeo, having competed in the opening night's performance and posting a 17.70 second run.
The sisters, who are the daughters of top Columbia River Circuit hands Shane and Maureen Crossley, don't really mind getting beat by their lil sis except for one big distinction.
"She ran Mom's five year old who has been to like nine amateur rodeos. I was like "good luck!" because he's green," laughs Jade. "We were talking on the drive up there and saying, ‘we can't let her beat us on a five year old!'"
"We said, ‘if you're winning it, we can't let that happen since we're not on our colts!'" oldest sister Jordan agreed.
PHOTO BY: Callahan Crossley
Callahan has had a tremendous season in 2015, claiming the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) National title back in June and currently ranked third in the tough Columbia River Circuit. But with her number one horse Brownie Bi Bogie competing on the huge course at the Pendleton Round-Up during the same week, Callahan took the reins on Laurie Darlin', registered Ciscos French Mirage, one of her mother's projects and did not buddy with her sisters in Othello.
"I wanted to give Brownie a day off since I had made the short go in Pendleton. I had never ridden her before so I definitely wasn't expecting that," says Callahan, who texted sister Jade after the rodeo to tell her she was winning it.
"We just laughed and said, ‘she's full of it,' but then she got home and was so excited and showed us the video," Jade says.
Jade came to Othello ranked 12th in the Columbia River Circuit standings and needing a win to solidify her spot in her second Columbia River Circuit Finals and first since 2013 when she claimed Rookie of the Year honors and finished fourth in the final circuit standings.
"I could hear [rodeo announcer] Steve [Kenyon] as I was turning the first barrel saying I was 12th in the circuit, and I'm not going to the last two circuit rodeos so I needed to do good," Jade notes.
Running first out in the final perf on Saturday, Jade nipped her sister's lead by one one-hundredth of a second, stopping the clock at 17.69 seconds. Big sister Jordan ran next and came oh-so-close as well, finishing in 17.71 seconds.
"We were thinking, you've got to be kidding," laughs Jade, who added that they weren't sure the times would hold up through the rest of the tough field in the performance. "When we finished, we just thought, this is insane."
It's not the first time the super competitive sisters have dominated an event before though they all believe it's the first time it happened at a pro rodeo. The family usually travels together along with their dad, who still competes as a tie-down roper, competing at both pro rodeos and amateurs. Jordan and Jade both enjoy breakaway roping as well as barrel racing.
"Callahan has had a phenomenal year so she got to go to Puyallup and some of the bigger rodeos while Jordan and I like to go to the amateurs so we can rope too," explains Jade. "But most of the time, we go together."
PHOTO BY: Roberta Barkley
Jordan is married to team roper Riley Minor and spends time traveling with him in the winter.
"We have a place in Arizona so we get to travel together more from October to June and then I don't go with him on the busy summer run," says Jordan. She rides Cool Dude who is registered Docs Genuine Leo and is a full brother to Laurie Darlin's mom. The gelding suffered an injury that left him out of action for three years but Jordan is hoping he will progress enough for her to travel and compete at the bigger rodeos with her husband.
"Right now, I need to stay in my circuit until he is more ready to go," says Jordan. "I love staying at these and getting to breakaway."
Jade and Jordan both ride Jet to rope and the 17 year old gelding is Jade's barrel horse as well.
"I've been running him for ten years," says Jade of the horse who is registered Jet On Bi Captain.
"He's the family rope horse but she makes sure we know he's her barrel horse," jokes Jordan.
Jade earned $689 for the win in Othello, giving her a little breathing room on the next cowgirl in the standings, her cousin Mary Hays.
Callahan won $599 for second while Jordan split third with Skylar English for $464.
Callahan is within a few thousand of circuit leader Pam Capper with a legitimate chance to take the Columbia River title like her mother.
"That would be really cool and a huge accomplishment," she says. "I'm a little behind since I didn't do good enough at Pendleton."
Callahan finished sixth in the circuit a year ago after taking second in the rookie race behind Jade in 2013. This will be her third trip to the circuit finals and second to its new home in Yakima.
"It's a lot different than Redmond [the former home for many years]. By the third run last year, I decided to just run from the gate even though it's across the pen. It was not good until the third run so this time I'll be ready on the first run," she laughs.
Jade meanwhile has not run at Yakima but remembers watching mom Maureen compete at the circuit finals there when she was very young.
"Everything seems bigger when you are little but it's so small," she laughs. "Jet's not really an indoor horse."
"I think Jade might be trying to steal my horse for the circuit finals," says Jordan. "I'm picking up on those hints."
The Crossley's raise and train all their own horses with dad Shane breaking and starting them on cattle before the girls take them to the barrel pattern. Nearly everything they run is related in some way.
"The next big question [after Othello] is who get's Mom's horse," Jordan jokes. "We are used to playing musical horses. It's a big family process. We train them and then do some switching around to figure out who each horse fits the best."
"Oh never," jokes Callahan when asked if the sisters ever try to one-up each other in the arena.
"We might have some sibling fights now and then but we mostly get along really well."
All three sisters and Maureen have qualified to the finals at one of the amateur finals in Idaho in the coming weeks, the first time the entire family will compete together in a finals event.
"We made her crack back out," says Jordan of Maureen, who is a computer teacher and is semi-retired from competition. Jordan also has a teaching degree and is working part-time as a substitute.
Meanwhile, Jade just started dental hygienist school, an eighteen month long program that will no doubt put a damper on her rodeo travels.
"It's five days a week and right through the summer," she laments. "You won't really be hearing much from me. But my horse is 17 so I thought it was a good time. Maybe by the time I'm getting back to it, I'll have an up-and-coming star."
As for the sibling sweep, Jade notes that their parents were thrilled.
"I think they were more excited than we were... they thought it was so cool."
For more information on the Othello Rodeo, visit them on-line at www.othellorodeo.com.