Meet the Member Andee Jo Haden
story by Lindsay King If Andee Jo Haden has anything to be proud of, it’s the barrel horse she’s made out of her gelding Superman. […]
story by Kyle Eustice
Prairie Grove, Arkansas, native and current Vian, Oklahoma, resident Jackie Hoffarth has juggled all aspects of rodeo. He’s been a bareback rider, rodeo producer and worked for a PRCA stock contractor, and now he’s a judge, something he’s been doing for over 25 years. The 67-year-old cowboy wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s had a passion for it since he was a teenager.
“When I was 14, I got on a bucking horse for the first time,” said Jackie. “I was very excited about it. I got three jumps in and something broke. The guy coaching me said, ‘Well, I guess we forgot to check everything.’ That was a standing joke with me in the rodeo business for a long time.”
Jackie made sure to check everything after that. He fell in love with bareback riding and rode bareback until he was 22. At 18, he got married and had a son two years later, so he focused on providing for his family for the next 10 years. He went back to bareback riding when he was 32. Although he doesn’t ride anymore, rodeo is still a huge part of him.
“I’ve dedicated my whole life to it,” said Jackie. “For the last five years, I’ve been the production chairman for the Old Fort Days Rodeo, a PRCA rodeo based in Fort Smith, Arkansas.”
Jackie is a judge at both ACRA and CRRA events. He believes it takes a special kind of person to be a good judge.
“I think honesty and integrity are the two main things you have to be able to have,” explained Jackie. “There’s so many people that think just because you have a big name or a judge knows you, you’re going to win. Honesty and integ-
rity are two key factors my parents taught me as a young child. They play into every decision.”
Parents Jack and Bonnie Hoffarth, who have been married for 68 years, also got him started in rodeo.
“My parents always had a helping hand in rodeo through the riding club in the Ozarks,” said Jackie. “I just patterned my lifestyle after them.”
Jackie’s brother David, 65, is now the president of that same riding club. When they were growing up, they looked up to Jim Shoulders and Freckles Brown, who Jackie says were “tough all-around cowboys” and rather than resort to pain medications they “cowboy’ed up.”
Jackie and his wife Becky have been married for almost 10 years. Together, they’ve owned a custom hat shop for seven years, SR Bar J Hat Co.
“I retired from a production factory job after 28 or 29 years and had some retire-ment money left,” explained Jackie. “I married Becky and had a friend with a hat shop that couldn’t do it anymore. He showed me the trade and taught me how to make hats quality enough to put on the market.”
“I have five horses that are unbroken, but they are well-bred horses,” said Jackie. “It’s time to do something with him. I traded a guy six of my best hats for four mares to get me started in a line of saddle bronc horses.”
Judging is where he truly feels at home. He’s been selected to work the CRRA Finals for three years in a row.
“When cowboys put confidence in me, that’s a big honor,” said Jackie.
In December 2013, the mayor of Fort Smith, Arkansas, signed a proclamation to make the month of May Fort Smith Western Heritage Month. As one of the founding fathers of Fort Smith Western Heritage Month, it was huge moment for Jackie. In 2015, Jackie and the Vice-President Kermit Walsh were given the GRIT Award.
In addition to watching his favorite movie Tombstone, Jackie also enjoys time with his family. He has three biological children, Chris Hoffarth, Amber Griffith, and Jake Hoffarth, and two step-daughters Jessica and Sarah. He also has five grandchildren, including his 3-year-old granddaughter, Ella, who he hopes dis-covers a passion for rodeo, as well.
“My goal is to see her be able to rodeo,” said Jackie. “I would love that.”
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