The arena gate opens and dirt begins to fly as an antsy horse with a young girl breeze by headed for a line of six poles. As they weave in and out their hair flies back and forth. When they round the sixth pole and head for home they give it all they’ve got to make a time with hope to place in the top 10.
A girl and a horse, when teamed up, can conquer mountains. A team with this strength can achieve most anything. They can race around barrels or poles and win events together. There is a team unlike any other thriving in Bozeman, Montana.
Sage Lindsay, a senior at Bozeman High School, is excited that the 2018 rodeo season is upon us. She is ready for something normal to happen in her life. Sage was diagnosed with cervical cancer in March and is undergoing chemotherapy.
“I can’t change it.” Sage said, “I was really sad when I found out but also just hopeful for the future.”
Sage’s older brother, Jordan, introduced her into the rodeo lifestyle four years ago when she was just 14 years old. At the time she was an active and successful gymnast. Sage attended every rodeo her brother went to and videoed every bull ride he had. She loved the people and the environment so much she couldn’t stay away.
When Sage was a junior in high school she pursued the sport of rodeo. She had great strides in her first year, making it to the Montana State High School Rodeo Finals competing in poles.
“If I didn’t rodeo I wouldn’t be doing anything but laying around.” Sage said, “I love it.”
Her life is filled with such amazing support from all of her family. Her parents travel many miles all across the state of Montana with her to all her rodeos and help her out in any way they can.
“We have learned to live like carnies.” Said Sage’s mom, Camille Lindsay.
Her brother has her back and always helps her with any horse chores that are needed, and the rest of her family comes to cheer her on through every twist and turn.
“ We are all for it,” said Sage’s dad, Paul Lindsay. “It gives her focus and makes her feel like the same old Sage.”
Along with her family she has great support from her coaches, teammates and the entire rodeo community. One of her teammates hauls her horse for her, helps her work with him and cares for him when she can’t make it out to see him.
“I think it is super cool she is still rodeoing.” said Sage’s former teammate, Emma Johnson. “She has way more perseverance and strength than anyone I know.”
Sage has gone through two chemotherapy treatments thus far and will have one more before going back for an official checkup. If the chemotherapy is working she will undergo three more treatments. She is also getting iron transfusions which help her energy levels stay high.
“Take it one day at a time.” Sage said.
Cervical cancer is very rare in young women, only 1% of young female adults are diagnosed according to the American Cancer Society.
“The hardest part is the fear and the uncertainty.” Camille said.
The rodeo community is going great strides to help the Lindsay family through this tough time. The Big Timber High School rodeo, May 27- 28, will be dedicated to Sage as well as a barrel racing jackpot following the rodeo. Along with this event, there will be a silent auction at the Montana State High School Rodeo Finals June 4-9 for Sage. All the proceeds from both events will go to the Lindsay family.
Sage is determined to go back to state this year in barrels and poles. She also wants to keep all her runs clean by not knocking down any obstacles and to stay consistent. She is right on track. She ran her fastest time in barrels, 19.23 seconds, at the Three Forks High School rodeo April 29 and placed fourth in pole bending at the same event with a 21.23 seconds. With the motivation of her friends, family and coach she will be able to reach for the stars in her rodeo career.
“Everything Sage is doing just goes to prove what rodeo will do to a person.” Said Sage’s coach, Mr. Thiem.
A horse, a young lady and a rodeo combined together create the perfect recipe to conquer any struggle life throws their way. There are more poles to weave through and barrels to turn in Sage’s life and she’s not stopping now.
It has been almost a year since Sage has been diagnosed with cancer.
She had a great high school rodeo season, beating her times in barrel racing multiple times. She even made it to the Montana High School Rodeo State Finals in Baker, Montana. Sage competed in barrels, poles and shooting. After day one she placed 4th in shooting, guaranteeing her a spot on the team to head to the National High School Rodeo Finals in Rock Springs, Wyoming. She finished her season strong and with a huge smile.
Sage in now attending Montana Tech in Butte, Montana where she is studying computer science. She is a proud member of the Montana Tech rodeo team. Sage and Ranger have conquered many obstacles together and are still crushing more.
After being admitted in the hospital at the end of December due to a blockage, her brother, Jordan, put together a little surprise to boost her spirits.
On January 4 a large group of friends and family gathered together to see Sage be reunited with her best friend, Ranger.
“I was a little overwhelmed,” said Sage, “But I got to see my favorite thing in the whole world under such special circumstances.”
The Bozeman Fire Department as well as many of the nurses and close family friends showed up in support of Sage.
“I know how much that horse means to her and I thought it would be a good pick me up.” Said Sage’s brother, Jordan.
We hope to continue good vibes and prayers headed her way as she continues her fight. We are Sage Strong.
Sage was one tough young lady. She fought hard through it all. We said our final goodbyes the that spunky little girl on January 23, 2019. It was an honor to get to be in her presents. We will continue to ride hard for her. Heaven gained a beautiful angle that will forever shine down on us.