Meet the Member Jace James
story by Lindsay Humphrey At just 11 years old, Jace James has his sights set on redemption at the upcoming AJRA finals. He finished as […]
story by Lily Weinacht
Devon Eakin made a sweep through the AJRA 8 & Under division and won year-end titles in every event and the all-around at the 2017 AJRA finals. Along with his five saddles, the cowboy from Pecos, Texas, who recently turned 9, was awarded the Jimmy Cooper High Point Timed Event All-Around plaque for winning the most points over all the boys categories. The plaque lists previous AJRA winners who are now notable PRCA cowboys, including Clayton Hass, Caleb Schmidt, Sam Powers, and Randall Carlisle. Devon looks up to many of them, and is thrilled to have his name included with theirs.“Devon had consistency, which is really hard for a 7- or 8-year-old kid, and he has a really nice barrel and pole horse, Stevie. It’s his second year to ride her, and she’s spunky with an incredible heart. They’re a perfect match,” says Brandi Eakin, Devon’s mom. “He’s a phenomenal little goat tyer — it’s one of his favorite events to practice — and his roping is coming along.”
In the four years since he started rodeoing, Devon has won 22 saddles, more than 60 buckles, and a horse trailer. The saddles are shared among his grandparents, while Devon rides several of them and spreads them out around his family’s house. “I really like competing with my friends and seeing them,” he says. Devon is entering his fourth season in the AJRA this year, and he also competes in the High Plains Junior Rodeo Association, West Texas Junior Rodeo Association, and Region 2 Youth Rodeos. Since he’s moved up to the 9–12 division in the AJRA, Devon is entering the tie-down roping, double mugging, breakaway roping, and ribbon roping. If possible, he practices every day with his parents, Brandi and Monty, who untie calves, work chutes, and keep time. Devon also loves having goat tying competitions with his dad and tying calves at the post with his mom. Brandi competed in breakaway roping in high school and college, and Monty steer wrestles and ropes calves on the PRCA Turquoise Circuit. Devon’s Grandpa and Memaw, Roger and Angela Harrison, help him with practicing and getting his goats ready to show in January, and his great-grandparents, Bud and Frances Bush, also help him practice.
The Eakins spend a lot of time in the truck since their closest rodeos are at least three hours away, and Devon passes the time with his Legos, reading, or even doing math. “I like to read a lot about snakes, and I like mystery books.” He helps take care of his family’s animals, including goats, a sheep, a donkey, dogs, cats, chickens, roping calves and steers, and horses. “I ride Stevie in barrels and poles and I’ve ridden Daisy in breakaway and goat tying, and Ruby is my main rope horse for my four roping events.”
A third-grader at Austin Elementary, Devon especially enjoys his science, art, and reading classes. “I like drawing, and I try to read about four books a week.” Devon also enjoys riding his bike and hover board around his home, and he likes playing football, baseball, soccer, and basketball. “We’ve been focusing a lot on rodeo the last year or so, but Devon loves playing sports and he loves baseball,” says Brandi. “We’re trying to work hard at roping, and then work hard at baseball. He’s all boy, and it’s so much fun watching him. He gives it so much grit, and it’s pretty amazing watching these kids rodeo.”
Devon’s goals for the year include adding to his saddle and buckle collection, and improving his roping skills, especially learning how to dismount and tie calves. He will compete in The American Semi Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, in February, and hopes to throw his hat in the ring for the million dollar prize.
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