Featured Athlete: Hope Thompson
Hope Thompson is one of the lucky women in rodeo who can make her living with horses. The Abilene, Texas cowgirl, a breakaway roper and […]
A decorated career didn’t make JJ Hampton’s return to the toughest sport on dirt any easier after taking off a year from breakaway roping in the early 2000s. After losing a few good horses, JJ just needed some time at home to regroup. And that she did, because when she started chasing the rodeo trail again, she was as fast as she’d ever been. “Some people don’t understand how important a horse that fits you as a roper is to winning,” said the real estate agent from Stephenville, Texas. “I came back faster than I thought and I started winning in the UPRA and CPRA.” JJ wasn’t competing in the WPRA just yet, but when she came back it would be with a literal and metaphorical fire lit under her rope.
“I had my son [now 13, Kason] in 2009 and I was still winning titles in those associations even while I was pregnant. It took me a few months to get back to feeling good after I had him. Getting back into the groove of going and winning is hard when you’re competing against girls who are going hard every weekend.” While JJ appreciates the increasing interest in her favorite event, it definitely makes her job harder than it’s ever been. “I just had to put in my time knowing I was going to get beat but I had to keep practicing and entering. You have to be willing to grind it out in this sport because it’s hard to beat these girls who are talented and have good horses.”
Along the way, breakaway roping made it’s first appearance at the NFR in 2020. JJ was there alongside 14 other fierce ropers. “Other than barrels, we are the biggest event. We show up and participate. While I appreciate that we can rope at the NFR, I’m not sure how long we can do it for a small fraction of the prize money that the boys go for. We need and deserve to be roping for more.” JJ knows the answer is complex at best, but at the same time she believes that as a group, breakaway ropers have to stick together and stand up for each other in this endeavor. “I think it comes down to needing more sponsors who believe in us, but I don’t have the total answer for that either.” On that same token, it’s the sponsors who have helped keep JJ going when things get tough out on the road. And 5 Star Equine happens to be one of those for her.
“Lari Dee Guy and Hope Thompson both use 5 Star and we rodeo together and so they thought it would be great if I used them too. They both liked how well the pads protected their horses, so I figured why not give them a try.” This was back in 2020 and Lari Dee even called 5 Star on JJ’s behalf about getting her a sponsorship. JJ started out using their fleece pad, but went back to the felt and it’s been a great switch for her horses. “I really love how the pads fit my horse; they do a good job protecting my horses’ back. I use some of their boots too, but they’re pads are my favorite.” Much like her peers, JJ’s never had any issues fitting a saddle to her horses thanks to the 5 Star pads. It doesn’t hurt that they come in favorite color: purple. “It’s the color of royalty and power and it’s been my color for a long time. I really appreciate that this is a family-owned company and they’re great to work with no matter the situation.”
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