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Kanesha Jackson has never wondered if she belongs.
The Texas barrel racer has been rodeoing as far back as she can remember, and a lifetime on the dirt has taught her that anyone who puts in the work belongs in the arena. Jackson has won multiple world barrel racing titles in different leagues because of the mentality her step-father, Sedgwick Haynes, instilled in her when she was young: “All I remember is what you put in is what you get out.” That mentality is what’s driving her toward her goal of becoming the first Black woman to qualify for the WNFR, and inspiring the next generation of barrel racers like her daughter, Kortnee.
“I want to be the first African American female to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. That’s my goal. I want to be the person to let other people know, even though you are a minority, no matter whether you are Black, Mexican, Chinese, whatever, you don’t have to have a certain background to reach this platform. Because we’re rare,” Jackson said. “I want little girls that are a different skin tone than what they would consider normal in the rodeo industry… to make them think that if she can do it, I can do it.”