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Jane Melby heads to Las Vegas, National Finals Rodeo

CLN: City of Lights shine on Jane Melby, Minnesota Barrel Racer, as Melby has qualified for her second National Finals Rodeo this week December 5-14, 2013.

City of Lights shine on Jane Melby, Minnesota Barrel Racer

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Jane Melby on Beauty at the 2011 NFR
Photo Credit: Alex Compton

Immediate Release —  December 1, 2013 –Jane Melby fans, friends and family are extremely proud she’s qualified for her second National Finals Rodeo this week December 5-14, 2013.  She is currently ranked number 11 in the world standings and wearing back number 63.   Melby is the most decorated Minnesota Barrel Racer of all times, holding numerous titles in high school, 1993 IPRA World Title, 1999 NBHA 1D World Championship and three go-rounds at the 2011 Nationals Finals Rodeo.

Her mother, Suzie Krull of Park Rapids, MN will be one of 40 Minnesotans in attendance to watch her daughter compete in the City of Lights.  Suzie spent several months on the road helping Jane during the winter rodeo series.   She was in Denver when Jane captured the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo title this past January.  Suzie enjoys talking about her daughter and admits the family is very humble, so she gets to boast.  “She will never brag about her accomplishments,  but I can brag all I want,” explained Suzie with motherly affection.  “The best thing about Jane she has never changed a single bit.  She is a tremendous winner and a good loser. “

Years ago Suzie had a sign erected at her farm entrance acknowledging the numerous state championships Jane won in the Minnesota High School Rodeo Association from 1983-1986.  Suzie plans on having another large archway sign made when Jane wins the world.

Jane Melby, WNFR 13 Photo by David Seymore

Jane Melby at the 2013 WNFR
Photo by: David Seymore

If it hadn’t been for Jane’s classmate, Mike Sams who encouraged her to rodeo, the Minnesotans heading to Vegas this week might be ice fishing or tending their ranches.     Sams was competing in the high school rodeos riding bulls and approached Jane at school one day about rodeoing.  “She was always into horse shows, gaming stuff and 4-H.  I talked her into going to the high school rodeos,” he replied.   He took a minute to jog his memory; it’s been a long time ago now.  “Nimrod is a small community. I’ve seen a lot of competitors in the sport of rodeo around here and its pretty neat to know that somebody we know is participating at that level,”  Sams finished.

Melby is known for her ability to instruct and connect with different horses.  She won money on five horses this season which is very impressive considering most contestants have one go-to horse and a seasoned backup.   “I’m bringing a young horse, we’ve been messing with her and she’s peaking,” replied Jane days before she left her Oklahoma ranch.  Finding top caliber barrel horses is the key to having a successful season.

The trio of animal athletes Melby is hauling to Las Vegas include her gelding, First Down Perk (aka Perkulees or called Blackie); the young mare,  Flit Flyin ta Fame and she is leasing a third horse, JM Alive N Perquix (Perk).

Beauty was fast, fast, Jane recalled referencing her mare that helped her win three go-rounds at the 2011 NFR.   She collected a NFR paycheck of nearly $60,000 to finish the year with $122,994.

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Renee Stranne and her family with in-laws Keith and Patty Melby at the 2011 National Finals Rodeo
Photo Credit: Gretchen Kirchmann

“I’m looking forward to repeating the same thing I did before, hoping for a better 2013 finals than I had in 2011.   I’m not an average kind of girl, but I’m mounted on average horses.  I need to look at the average in 2013, in 2011 I just looked at the go-rounds,” explained Melby.

After the 2011 season, Melby was tired from the extensive travel and spent 2012 teaching clinics and searching for another horse.  “It’s a lot of work trying to make the finals.  The reason you’ll seeing the veterans, they realize what it takes to get there and wait until they get the perfect horse.  If you aren’t mounted you can’t do it,” she shared.

The televised production of the NFR radiates energy to the viewers at home.  In 2011, Jane’s sister-in-law Renee Melby Stranne made a vinyl banner that read Go Jane Go.   The crowd at the Thomas & Mach applauded loudly and cheered shouting Go Jane Go as the week progressed.  Her father Robert Meech of Nimrod along with brothers Todd and Troy are all packing bags and heading to Vegas too.

Jane Melby, WNFR13 Photo by David Seymore 2

Jane Melby at the 2013 WNFR
Photo by: David Seymore

The Meech family is very humble.  When Troy was asked about his older sister’s success, he said, “I’m not very good at bragging and this is a point when you are supposed to brag.”    Troy a former PRCA bullrider and Great Lakes Circuit Finalist acknowledged how difficult it is making the finals.  The travel, mental game, living on the road and physical toll of traveling for months to make it into the top 15.
Robert Meech was quick to point out that, “It’s a big accomplishment to make it the first time and a bigger accomplishment to make it another time.  I’ve seen her go from little horse shows to high school and professional (rodeos). She can ride anything and make it look good.”

Jane shared Troy’s comment to her directly after she qualified.  “He said are you mounted?  I’m not going to Vegas to hear your name called.  I already know what your name is, find a horse you can win on or cough up some dough and purchase one. You don’t go to just go,” Jane reiterated.

Being a National Finals Rodeo contestant is exciting and exhausting.  Jane will have a tight schedule with mandatory appearances for sponsors, autograph signings, meetings and tending her horses. She feels blessed to have her wonderful husband Ryan, and children Colton and Cayla by her side.  “I always feel that it’s God’s plan.  He gave me these top horses to make the NFR.  As long as he keeps blessing me I have to go for it.”

Go Jane Go!

CLN Community & Event Sponsor

Gretchen Kirchmann is a veteran journalist covering a variety of events across the country each year. She founded Kirchmann Media Group in 2009 and works as a marketing consultant with a forte for the western lifestyle industry, festivals, fairs and rodeo world. Her work includes 15 national communication awards plus coverage of Nashville's CMT Awards and CMA Fanfest. A favorite assignment was attending the all cast reunion of the Dukes of Hazard in 2006 and 2007 at Dukesfest. In December you will find her covering the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and Miss Rodeo America pageant live from Las Vegas. Her favorite color is orange, favorite song "Rocky Top" and she loves to dance especially clogging.

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