In the May/June issue of Western Horse Review, we searched out some of the most accomplished and influential youth in the western horse industry and compiled our first-ever Young Guns – Top 25 Youth Under 25. We came up with six categories: Ambassadors, Artisans, Entertainers, Competitive, Entrepreneurs and Science. From self-discipline to unwavering focus, we were reminded that the dreams often fostered in young minds and hearts can translate to adulthood, and that good old fashioned determination can still achieve what many think is impossible. We loved the true western code of ethic each of our top 25 exude.
It evolved into such an inspiring piece we decided to recreate it online, with the fuller interviews and stories of each of our deserving Top 25. Look for them here at Screen Doors & Saddles over the next six months, as I\’ll reveal one every week or so!
Jennifer Rak(Nominated for Ambassadors) Age: 19 Fairview, Alberta
“By the force of arms, live unconquered.” It’s Jenifer Rak’s favorite quote and one she adores so much, she has it tattooed on her ribcage.
“Take life and live it – don’t let anything hold you back,” she says. “That’s my motto.”
To say Rak is ambitious is an understatement. Last year for instance, the Fairview, AB, girl co-hosted RD-TV’s new show “Rodeo Radio.” She sanctioned, planned, fundraised and put on a college rodeo in her hometown; she founded a memorial scholarship in honor of her grandfather Oscar Rak; and she attended Olds College to gain a diploma in business, majoring in marketing and sales. She will graduate from there this spring and has since been accepted into the Bachelor of Science program in Ag-Business at Olds for the upcoming fall 2013/14 term.
In previous years, Rak has also been heavily involved with rodeo royalty. In 2011 she was crowned as he Rodeo Queen of Jasper. She has had a lot to do with 4H involvement and she has been part of many Shared Lent projects, lending her efforts to build a water well in Africa.
In her spare time, Rak is an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR Paramedic), and enjoys participating in community functions and event planning.
“But right now, school is a priority,” she states.
Rak is an avid barrel racer and admits to being fond of all things rodeo. In 2011, she and her mother traveled south to the National High School Rodeo Finals to contend in light rifle shooting.
“My mom isn’t a hunter or a shooter but she came with me to be my partner. And she ended up carrying us,” she laughs. “I taught my mom how to shoot but when it came to competition time, I dropped the ball. However, my mom pulled us through and we ended up fourth!”
Maintaining and promoting the western lifestyle is a topic of conversation that is very dear to Rak’s heart. When asked where she gets her zeal and drive from, she is quick to answer:
“I grew up on a farm. I guess I see things differently than many people. The way I was raised involved chores and spankings on occasion. I was required to pay for my own rodeo entries and that meant if I didn’t feed the cows or exercise my own horses – I wasn’t going. From that I realized that if you don’t put the effort in, you’re not going to win.”
~ interview by Jennifer Webster