The aim was to go and scope out her competition, but St Kitts rodeo rider, Jess Hahn exceeded all expectations at her first Junior NFR (National Finals Rodeo) recently.
Jess, 13, finished fourth in the breakaway roping, halving her personal best time.
“I really had to switch on and make sure I did my best,” she said.
“It was a really good experience because it was competing against the best.
“(The competition) was really intense, I had to be switched on because I had two events, so I had to swap horses and saddles.”
The up-and-coming rider caught her calf in the third round, finishing just out of money, in fifth position.
Hahn found it difficult to adapt to the changing conditions, and a different horse, during the barrel racing event, but her times improved throughout the weekend.
Jess’ mother Sandy said she was competing against 17 and 18-year-olds, which shows a lot of potential for the future.
"There’s still a long time still to come for her in this (open) division – she did very well,” Mrs Hahn said.
“This experience has given her a taste of the big time and there's no stopping her now.”
Jess said she was pleased with her performances, but already has her sights set on next year’s competition.
“It was pretty good, considering it was my first year,” she said.
“I’m trying to go to more interstate rodeos – (Junior NFR) has given me confidence coming into other rodeos that I can do well.”