Though best known in the sports world as the professional MMA fighter recently crowned with the first Battlefield Fight League women’s world title, Squamish’s Jamey-Lyn Horth actually didn’t get into fighting until she was 23.
Horth, 29, who was born and raised in Squamish, describes her childhood self as a tomboy who participated in almost every sport, but not organized fighting.
“Women fighting wasn’t as popular back then as it is now. It was what I would call, not socially accepted,” Horth told The Chief, adding that she was, however, raised to stand up for herself.
“My parents bought 14-ounce boxing gloves, ‘sock’em boppers, and my siblings and I would mess around. I have older brothers so I was familiar with roughhousing.”
She was invited to try kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) by Kasey and Cole Smith near the end of 2013.
“One of my greatest friends Tyler Golaiy was a part of the gym, so I had friends there. I started training for fun and fitness.”
Looking toward the future of her career, Horth says she wants to be the best version of herself, and not look back and wish she had done more.
“I am going to make it to the UFC,” she said.
Little girl Horth
Asked what she wants young girls who look up to her to know, Horth said she hopes they know “nothing is unachievable and there is no shame in having muscles and being strong.”
She added that she believes that the role model she has become was shaped by having parents who supported her and gave her many opportunities.
She played a lot of sports other girls didn’t play.
“I was into everything. It started in elementary school — floor hockey, basketball, track and field, cross country, biking. And outside of school, like most kids my age, we all learned to swim, gymnastics, dance, figure skating, soccer.”
Looking back, she wishes she had better known it was OK to be different.
“I wish I had a deeper connection to the beauty within and build my strength mentally as well as physically. Everyone’s path is different and the time it takes us to get to where we are going is all different,” she said.
She said learning to love herself has been a journey and one she encourages others to take, with the help of others.
“Sports are very physical but too often we push aside the mental aspect,” she said. “There are days where I doubt myself, it’s completely normal, and now those are the days I reach out and ask for help.”
When she feels down she calls her mom or goes over to visit her sisters.
“I share my worries and I’m not afraid to say that there have been some really low times in my life, but I am reminded daily that I have the opportunity to choose my own path. I have so much support because I have accepted that I do not have to do this life alone.”
Horth added that she believes the role model she has become is shaped by the messages and support she receives daily from young kids and their parents.
Growing up in Squamish
Horth can remember Squamish when it was so small and sparsely populated that when her family went to town for groceries, there were just trees between Brackendale and the then Overwaitea [now Save On Foods].
Her parents would drop her off at the pool with $3 and that was enough money for her to go in — without shoes — swim and buy a snack.
She said the changes in Squamish since she was a kid scare her.
“Being born and raised in Squamish and unable to afford a home in your own town is something I have feared for my friends, siblings and myself,” she said.
She also remembers a time when doors were never locked and bikes were left on lawns overnight.
“Now people have cameras because their wheelbarrows are being stolen,” she said.
A best day
Horth said her favourite days outside of the ring are spent as a competitor at Squamish Days Logger Sports.
She has been the choker race champ for the last six years.
Her family has been involved with logging for years and she grew up attending the August festival.
“I love competition, all types of it, so that part came naturally to me and I love how different the sport is. It is a great community weekend, and over the years I have become more involved.”